By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.
In the previous article only the gospels were considered in answering this question. We now turn to the rest of the New Testament, beginning with Acts of the Apostles, the companion book to the Gospel of Luke and written by the same writer. Acts catalogs the beginning of the Christian movement following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The date of the book of Acts would be between 57-62.
Acts 1:1-5 "Theophilus, I first wrote to you about all that Jesus did and taught from the very first until he was taken up to heaven. But before he was taken up, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen with the help of the Holy Spirit. For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God's kingdom. While he was still with them, he said: Don't leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
The first history book about the apostles mentions in these first verses the fact that Jesus suffered and died, was resurrected and seen by his disciples over a period of 40 days to prove to them in many ways that he was risen from the dead, gave them instruction about waiting in Jerusalem, about Gods kingdom, and waiting for the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then he was taken up into heaven.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is important. When Jesus lived a human life in the country of Israel, he was limited by his physical presence. He could not be in many places at the same time. Gods plan to be involved in the lives of his followers is made possible by the gift of His Spirit. The Spirit of God is not localized to one geographic center nor to one time as Jesus was. The Spirit of God is able to indwell the lives of all who have committed their lives to Jesus.
He is with us forever.
All of these ideas are important for Muslims to consider. Mohammed taught that the Crucifixion did not take place. The historical documents affirms that it did.
Muslims believe that Jesus did not die but the early documents affirm that he did die and was raised to life in three days. Muslim believe that the Holy Spirit refers to Mohammed but this makes no sense for the disciples were to receive the Holy Spirit in a little while, not 600 years later.
Acts 1:8-9 "But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world." After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud." They could not see him..."
There are many competing religions in the world, but we are primarily concerned with the Christian Faith and Islam. The threat of Islam is the sword and the loss of freedom of choice. The early apostles were given the power of the Holy Spirit, not the sword, and they were commissioned to go everywhere beginning in Jerusalem and tell about Jesus. That is the transforming power of the Christian faiththe story of Jesus. It is the story of Gods love for the world in sending His Son to die for us, to bring forgiveness, to bring hope of new life now in Christ, and hope of the future in the presence of God forever. It is the story about freedom for mankind from sins consequences, from guilt, from slavery to sin. It is a story of equality of men and women, a story that brings dignity to women as well as men.
In contrast, Islam, by means of the sword, has brought captivity to many civilizations, it has brought suffering to women, slavery to many, mutilation to womens sex organs, honor killings of young girls and women, and harsh inequality between men and women.
Acts 1:14 "The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind. The women and Mary the mother of Jesus would meet with them, and so would his brothers."
Not only were women followers of Jesus in support of his ministry in the Gospels, but here we have the women and Jesus mother, Mary, meeting together, not separately as in Islam, for the purpose of prayer. The equality of men and women can be seen in the very beginning of the Christian church. This is the last mention of Mary in the New Testament. The disciples were praying with her, not to her.
Acts 1:16 "He said: My friends, long ago by the power of the Holy Spirit, David said something about Judas, and what he said has now happened."
Peters speech affirms what Christians have believed concerning the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired King David in his comments about Judas. The Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity, co-equal, co-eternal with the Father and the Son did not begin in the Christian era.
Acts 1:21 "So we need someone else to help us tell others that Jesus has been raised from death. He must also be one of the men who was with us from the very beginning. He must have been with us from the time the Lord Jesus was baptized by John until the day he was taken to heaven."
The Gospel about Jesus death and resurrection stands on historical witness. The persons credibility was based on the long term association with Jesus from the time he began his public ministry to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven by Jesus. History is important in terms of the Bible. It records Gods acts in history. Luke began his gospel account confirming all the investigation he had made concerning the events of the life of Jesus.
Acts 2:1-4 "On the day of Pentecost all the Lord's followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak."
Jesus said this would happen. The Holy Spirit gave them the power to speak various languages. That is remarkable in itself. But more remarkable is the fulfillment of the words of Jesus that Gods Spirit would take up residence in the life of the believer. This fulfills the words of Jesus that the Spirit will be in you and remain in you. The believer has the companionship of the Spirit as his helper. There is an intimacy here that is missing in Islam. Allah wants obedience. He does not offer companionship, or intimacy, or a change of the heart.
Acts 2:16-21 "But this is what God had the prophet Joel say, "When the last days come, I will give my Spirit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams. In those days I will give my Spirit to my servants, both men and women, and they will prophesy. I will work miracles in the sky above and wonders on the earth below. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will turn dark, and the moon will be as red as blood before the great and wonderful day of the Lord appears. Then the Lord will save everyone who asks for his help."
The events of Pentecost were foretold by the prophet Joel. The gift of His Spirit, the gift of prophecy, the working of miracles, and the saving of people who seek God are all involved in the prophecy. All these events took place in the early church.
Equally important results relate to the role of the daughters, the women, who are given the Spirit because of their faith in Jesus, and their equal status. Muslim men and women need to look at the status of women as second class persons and consider what Jesus has done for them to being them to equality with the men.
Acts 2:22-24 "Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this. God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power."
Peters speech to the crowd of people affirmed the events of the Gospel that Jesus died and was raised to life again after 3 days. They had the knowledge of what Jesus did in terms of miracles, signs, and wonders. More striking is the statement that God had planned this. There are some Muslim scholars who believe that prophets were not subjected to such persecutions. The record of the Old Testament is that many prophets suffered persecution and death. The most important death is that of Jesus and death could not hold him in its power.
Jesus said, because I live you shall live also.
Acts 2:31-33 "David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay. All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life! Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and that is what you are now seeing and hearing."
David was a prophet, (also affirmed to be a prophet by Muslims,) and foretold that Christ would be raised to life. Peter declares that all of the witnesses "can tell you that God raised Jesus to life." He is now at the right side of God. The Holy Spirit has been given as the Father promised.
Acts 2:36-37 "Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross. When the people heard this, they were very upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, "Friends, what shall we do?"
Jesus is both Lord and Christ, or Messiah. The realization that they had put him to death now comes crashing down on them with guilt and alarm, and their question, "what shall we do?" leads to Peters answer.
Acts 2:38-39 "Peter said, "Turn back to God! Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will be given the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children. It is for everyone our Lord God will choose, no matter where they live.""
How does one become a Christian? It begins with repentance from sin and turning to God, confessing your faith in Jesus by being baptized in his name. As a result your sins are forgiven, and you are given the promised Holy Spirit. The trinity is again affirmed here. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is not something that took centuries to develop. It is affirmed from the beginning of the Christian movement.
Acts 3:1-6 "The time of prayer was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in. The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. But they looked straight at him and said, "Look up at us!" The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. But Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.""
There are a number of miracles recorded in Acts. This is the first one by the apostles. How did they do them? By the power of Jesus Christ. In contrast, the name of Mohammed is not associated with miracles. The Muslim claim that the Quran is a miracle is false. There is nothing miraculous about the Quran. Mohammeds challenge to create a sura like it has been done many times but Islam believes that only the Quran is a miracle and hence cannot admit that any other verse can be as good or better by virtue of their definition. Mohammed said no one could do it and because he said it nothing can be accepted against his statement. This is the acceptance of a view that allows no competition.
Acts 3:12-15 "Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said: Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious?
The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshiped has brought honor to his Servant Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free. You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done."
If the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus had not taken place as Mohammed taught, why would the eye witnesses to Jesus life and death stress this point so much? The charge was serious, "you killed the one who leads people life, but God raised him from death."
How wrong Mohammed was can be seen in the words of Peter that Jesus is the one who leads people to life. If you want to have life, everlasting life, you have to forsake Mohammed and give your life to Jesus. It is that simple. It is that urgent. How bitter will be the feeling to know that one has rejected the one who gives Life to people.
Acts 3:18-23 "But God had his prophets tell that his Messiah would suffer, and now he has kept that promise. So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven. Then that time will come when the Lord will give you fresh strength. He will send you Jesus, his chosen Messiah. But Jesus must stay in heaven until God makes all things new, just as his holy prophets promised long ago. Moses said, "The Lord your God will choose one of your own people to be a prophet, just as he chose me. Listen to everything he tells you. No one who disobeys that prophet will be one of God's people any longer."
The Muslim claim that Jesus was not crucified and resurrected is contrary to history. The substitution of somebody else on the cross is deception and contrary to the Old Testament prophets. The Messiah would suffer. This is seen in a number of prophecies of the Old Testament and best described by Isaiah 53. Not only would the Messiah suffer, but he will also return "until God makes all things new" as the prophets indicated. The words of Peter reject the claims of Muslims that the "prophet" mentioned by Moses refers to Mohammed. To reject the words of Jesus excludes people from being a part of Gods people.
Peter again stresses the role of Jesus, the chosen Messiah. Turning to Him is the answer to sin and forgiveness.
Acts 4:1-2 "The apostles were still talking to the people, when some priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some Sadducees arrived. These men were angry because the apostles were teaching the people that the dead would be raised from death, just as Jesus had been raised from death."
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body, and in Jesus resurrection particularly. However, the message of the apostles is that Jesus did die on the cross and was raised from death. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the foundation message of the Gospel. It is the story of something that happened and was seen by eye witnesses. No amount of denial by Muslims can do away with the truth. But ignoring the truth excludes one from being a part of Gods people. Dont do it!
Acts 4:4 "But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about five thousand followers of the Lord."
The affirmation that Jesus is Lord began early. It is part of the Gospel record as well as the early Churchs belief. It is affirmed in the letters we shall examine in the following pages.
Acts 4:7-13 "They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them. They asked, "By what power and in whose name have you done this?" Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the nation's leaders and the elders: You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed. But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all. Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were, and they knew that these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus."
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter told them that the man was healed by the power of Jesus Christ. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. Very sincerely Peter told them that "His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone."
Dear Muslim, let these words soak into your mind, heart, and emotions. There is a choice to be made between Jesus and Mohammed. Mohammed can offer you no hope. Jesus is the source of Life. If these words are true, and I believe they are, following Mohammed is a dead end, going away from heaven, not toward it.
The officials were amazed but knew that the apostles had been with Jesus. If you give your heart to Jesus you will know his power to change you. Mohammed does not have power to change your inner being.
The two men were told to be quiet about Jesus and they replied,
Acts 4:19-20 "Peter and John answered, "Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard."
The eye witness quality of the early record is stressed. Your faith in Jesus is built upon the solid foundation of witnesses.
Acts 4:23-31 "As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything that the chief priests and the leaders had said to them. When the rest of the Lord's followers heard this, they prayed together and said: Master, you created heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. And by the Holy Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and you told him to say: "Why are all the Gentiles so furious? Why do people make foolish plans? The kings of earth prepare for war, and the rulers join together against the Lord and his Messiah." Here in Jerusalem, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant Jesus, your chosen Messiah. They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen. Lord, listen to their threats! We are your servants. So make us brave enough to speak your message. Show your mighty power, as we heal people and work miracles and wonders in the name of your holy Servant Jesus. After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message."
The presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives was the transforming source of the beginning of the church. In this prayer the Holy Spirit is again related to David as a prophet. People made plans against the Lord and His Messiah in Jerusalem under Herod and Pilate. God had already decided that the Messiah would die. Their prayer was that God would do miracles and show people that Jesus was risen. Their prayer is answered by the "filling of the Holy Spirit" and they declared Gods message about the Messiah.
The closeness of the believers brought them to share their means with others. However, the story of Ananias and his wife tells a tragic story of selfishness.
Acts 5:1-5 "Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property. But they agreed to cheat and keep some of the money for themselves. So when Ananias took the rest of the money to the apostles, Peter said, "Why has Satan made you keep back some of the money from the sale of the property? Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit? The property was yours before you sold it, and even after you sold it, the money was still yours. What made you do such a thing? You didn't lie to people. You lied to God!" As soon as Ananias heard this, he dropped dead, and everyone who heard about it was frightened."
Lying to the Holy Spirit was a grave sin. It is lying to God. This is another affirmation of the unity of the persons of the Trinity.
Acts 5:9 "Then Peter said, "Why did the two of you agree to test the Lord's Spirit? The men who buried Ananias are by the door, and they will carry you out!"
Sapphira conspired with her husband and her sin was the same and the punishment also.
Acts 5:12 "The apostles worked many miracles and wonders among the people. All of the Lord's followers often met in the part of the temple known as Solomon's Porch. No one outside their group dared join them, even though everyone liked them very much. Many men and women started having faith in the Lord."
The followers of Jesus, the Lords followers grew in number and many started having faith in the Lord. Faith in the Lord means to commit oneself to Jesus. I must ask Jesus to come into my life as Lord of my life. This is the most important commitment one can make in life. Many wonderful things happen when one makes a commitment. A marriage involves commitment to another, children involve a commitment to being a parent of them, and simple business matters involve a commitment to buy a house, a business, etc. The commitment of your life to Jesus is the most important commitment you will ever make.
Acts 5:28-32 "We told you plainly not to teach in the name of Jesus. But look what you have done! You have been teaching all over Jerusalem, and you are trying to blame us for his death." Peter and the apostles replied: We don't obey people. We obey God. You killed Jesus by nailing him to a cross. But the God our ancestors worshiped raised him to life and made him our Leader and Savior. Then God gave him a place at his right side, so that the people of Israel would turn back to him and be forgiven. We are here to tell you about all this, and so is the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to everyone who obeys God."
The high priest and Sadducees were livid about the apostles preaching. "You are trying to blame us for his death." If the crucifixion never happened this would not make any sense. But the apostles were witnesses of it. Nailing Jesus to the cross was their doing. But God raised him to life again. Not only were the apostles telling this message but it was confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
As the church grew it was necessary to appoint some people who would help care for the widows in the group. The apostles could not quit preaching the Gospel to serve tables and so Peter said,
Acts 6:3-4 "My friends, choose seven men who are respected and wise and filled with God's Spirit. We will put them in charge of these things. We can spend our time praying and serving God by preaching."
The presence of Gods Spirit in their lives was crucial. Seven were chosen and among them was Stephen, also described as filled with the Spirit.
Acts 6:8 "God gave Stephen the power to work great miracles and wonders among the people."
Some men contrived testimony against Stephen and he was stoned to death. Stephen gave a long speech about the history of Israel and the rebellion of the people against Gods commands. Then he directed his comments to them:
Acts 7:51-56 "You stubborn and hardheaded people! You are always fighting against the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors did. Is there one prophet that your ancestors didn't mistreat? They killed the prophets who told about the coming of the One Who Obeys God. And now you have turned against him and killed him. Angels gave you God's Law, but you still don't obey it. When the council members heard Stephen's speech, they were angry and furious. But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked toward heaven, where he saw our glorious God and Jesus standing at his right side. Then Stephen said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!"
They closed their ears to his comments, dragged him out of the city, and stoned him to death.
Acts 7:59-60 "As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, "Lord Jesus, please welcome me!" He knelt down and shouted, "Lord, don't blame them for what they have done." Then he died."
Stephen accuses them of killing the prophets who told of the coming Messiah, and now you killed Him. His vision of heaven was that Jesus was at the right side of God and He is the Son of Man standing there. In his death Stephen prayed the same prayer of Jesus, "forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
Acts 8:16-17 "Before this, the Holy Spirit had not been given to anyone in Samaria, though some of them had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John then placed their hands on everyone who had faith in the Lord, and they were given the Holy Spirit."
The Holy Spirit is again emphasized along with the name of the Lord Jesus. The title of "Lord" in connection with Jesus details his relations with God the Father. This passage is also important for it accepts a non-Jewish community into the fellowship of the church. The Samaritans were regarded as half-breeds not welcomed into the Jewish community at the time.
Acts 8:27-29 "So Philip left. An important Ethiopian official happened to be going along that road in his chariot. He was the chief treasurer for Candace, the Queen of Ethiopia. The official had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was now on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot, reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit told Philip to catch up with the chariot."
The book of Acts speaks a number of times of the Spirits leading, directing, and empowering. If a Muslim will read the gospels as well as the book of Acts and the Epistles it will be obvious that the Spirit cannot in any way be related to Mohammed.
Acts 8:32-35 "The man was reading the passage that said, "He was led like a sheep on its way to be killed. He was silent as a lamb whose wool is being cut off, and he did not say a word. He was treated like a nobody and did not receive a fair trial. How can he have children, if his life is snatched away?" The official said to Philip, "Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or about someone else?" So Philip began at this place in the Scriptures and explained the good news about Jesus."
Again, the prophet Isaiah is the background for the suffering of Jesus. Philip explained the passage and explained the wonderful new of the resurrection. The passage continues to tell how the man believed and was baptized. The Acts account then says, Act 8:39 "After they had come out of the water, the Lord's Spirit took Philip away. The official never saw him again, but he was very happy as he went on his way.
The killing of Stephen brought increased persecution and one of the key persecutors was a man named Saul from Tarsus.
Acts 9:1-2 "Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest and asked for letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way."
Jesus is Lord.
Acts 9:3-5 "When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice that said, "Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me?" "Who are you?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus," the Lord answered. "I am the one you are so cruel to."
The Greek manuscript says, "Who are you, Lord?" asks Saul. The answer: "I am Jesus"
In todays terrorist world it is worthy noting that Sauls persecution of the Christians was really the persecution of Jesus. Muslim terrorism of Christians is really terrorism of Jesus.
Acts 9:10-11, "A follower named Ananias lived in Damascus, and the Lord spoke to him in a vision. Ananias answered, "Lord, here I am." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. When you get there, you will find a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus."
Ananias responded to the "Lord" and obeyed Him.
Saul was given instructions to go into Damascus where a man, Ananias, would come and give him a message which is described: Acts 9:17 "Ananias left and went into the house where Saul was staying. Ananias placed his hands on him and said, "Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me. He is the same one who appeared to you along the road. He wants you to be able to see and to be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Again we encounter the Lord Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit which was promised to believers.
Acts 9:20 "Soon he went to the Jewish meeting places and started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God."
Before, he hated Jesus, now after his encounter he is describing Jesus as the Son of God. When one encounters Jesus one encounters God. There are a number of Muslims who have encountered Jesus in dreams and visions. Their conclusion is the same: Jesus is the Son of God. You can check testimonies out at this site.
Acts 9:31 "The church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria now had a time of peace and kept on worshiping the Lord. The church became stronger, as the Holy Spirit encouraged it and helped it grow."
Sauls preaching grew more powerful and enemies tries to silence him, threatened to kill him. In worshiping the Lord the church grew and the Holy Spirit was behind it. The statements that require the conclusion for the trinity are all over the New Testament. We have here the Lord Jesus and distinct from him is the Holy Spirit.
Many wonderful things were done by the disciples in the name of Jesus. Peter visited the believers at Lydda where there was a very sick man name Aeneas.
Acts 9:34-35 "Peter said to Aeneas, "Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed." Right away he stood up. Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord."
Shortly thereafter in Joppa Peter prayed for a woman who had died and she was raised to life again. Because of this great miracle "Everyone in Joppa heard what had happened, and many of them put their faith in the Lord." Acts 9:42
The next big story relates to the Gentiles who are welcomed into the family of God. Peter is the main character in the incident. While he was yet in Joppa he had a vision given by God.
The vision detailed men coming from Cornelius and they described him as follows.
Acts 10:22 "They answered, "Captain Cornelius sent us. He is a good man who worships God and is liked by the Jewish people. One of God's holy angels told Cornelius to send for you, so he could hear what you have to say."
What is significant about this man? He is a godly man, but he needed something more.
He needed to hear the Gospel and did, and his life was changed.
In obedience to the vision Peter went to Caesarea to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. After the group was assembled Peter spoke.
Acts 10:34-48 "Peter then said: Now I am certain that God treats all people alike. God is pleased with everyone who worships him and does right, no matter what nation they come from. This is the same message that God gave to the people of Israel, when he sent Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, to offer peace to them. You surely know what happened everywhere in Judea. It all began in Galilee after John had told everyone to be baptized. God gave the Holy Spirit and power to Jesus from Nazareth. He was with Jesus, as he went around doing good and healing everyone who was under the power of the devil. We all saw what Jesus did both in Israel and in the city of Jerusalem. Jesus was put to death on a cross. But three days later, God raised him to life and let him be seen. Not everyone saw him. He was seen only by us, who ate and drank with him after he was raised from death. We were the ones God chose to tell others about him. God told us to announce clearly to the people that Jesus is the one he has chosen to judge the living and the dead. Every one of the prophets has said that all who have faith in Jesus will have their sins forgiven in his name. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit took control of everyone who was listening. Some Jewish followers of the Lord had come with Peter, and they were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles. Now they were hearing Gentiles speaking unknown languages and praising God. Peter said, "These Gentiles have been given the Holy Spirit, just as we have! I am certain that no one would dare stop us from baptizing them." Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and they asked him to stay on for a few days."
This long section stresses several ideas First, God sent Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, to offer peace to all. Second, God gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus. Third, Jesus was put to death on a cross. Fourth, he was raised to life three days later. Fifth, the disciples are witnesses of those things. Sixth, Jesus is to judge the living and the dead, not someone one else. Seventh, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in unknown languages as at Pentecost. Eighth, because of their faith they were baptized in the name of Jesus.
When the persecutions scattered people to various part of the Middle East, many of the went to the Jews first to declare the gospel, but others went to the Gentiles.
Acts 11:20-21 "Some of the followers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and started telling Gentiles the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's power was with them, and many people turned to the Lord and put their faith in him."
Again it must be emphasized that "the Lord Jesus" is a term used early in the church. It did not evolve as centuries went along.
The news about the new believers reached the apostles at Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to check it out.
Acts 11:23-24 "When Barnabas got there and saw what God had been kind enough to do for them, he was very glad. So he begged them to remain faithful to the Lord with all their hearts. Barnabas was a good man of great faith, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Many more people turned to the Lord."
The spread of Christianity came by preaching. These were powerless people. They had no weapons of force. Their personalities were filled with the Holy Spirits power and they declared the events about Jesus, his death and resurrection, and the forgiveness of sins in his name. That was the good news. There was no conquest by military force, no coercion, no intimidation, no threatening of life and limb. Only the good news that God loved them to send his Son to die for them and give them new life.
Acts 12:24 "God's message kept spreading." The word of God is the word of the Gospel. It kept spreading and growing. There is no other message from God except the Gospel about the death and life of Jesus. To reject this message as the Muslims do is to reject what God has said. This is a serious rejection. If you put out the light, there is only darkness.
Already we have seen things that the Holy Spirit was doing. Now we come to a new decision by the Spirit. The Spirit is a person with intelligence, will, and power. This is seen in the following: "While they were worshiping the Lord and going without eating, the Holy Spirit told them, 'Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have chosen them.'" Acts 13:2
Acts 13:4 "After Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus."
In Antioch in Pisidia the message was essentially the same.
Acts 13:26-30 "Now listen, you descendants of Abraham! Pay attention, all of you Gentiles who are here to worship God! Listen to this message about how to be saved, because it is for everyone. The people of Jerusalem and their leaders didn't realize who Jesus was. And they didn't understand the words of the prophets that they read each Sabbath. So they condemned Jesus just as the prophets had said. They did exactly what the Scriptures said they would. Even though they couldn't find any reason to put Jesus to death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed. After Jesus had been put to death, he was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. But God raised him from death!
If this message were preached today, it would begin, "Listen, Muslims, to this message about how to be saved because it is for everyone. You have to give up Mohammeds rejection of the crucifixion. The records declare it over and over. There is no forgiveness for you without Jesus as Lord. You may be in ignorance now, but having read this far you now know for sure.
Acts 13:31-38 "Then for many days Jesus appeared to his followers who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are telling our people about him. God made a promise to our ancestors. And we are here to tell you the good news that he has kept this promise to us. It is just as the second Psalm says about Jesus, "You are my son because today I have become your Father." God raised Jesus from death and will never let his body decay. It is just as God said, "I will make to you the same holy promise that I made to David.""
And in another psalm it says, "God will never let the body of his Holy One decay."
When David was alive, he obeyed God. Then after he died, he was buried in the family grave, and his body decayed. But God raised Jesus from death, and his body did not decay. My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins.
Many Scriptures of the Old Testament point to the suffering Messiah. Paul appeals to these Scriptures to show that the death and resurrection of Jesus was prophesied.
As Paul and Barnabas left the area "the Lord's followers in Antioch were very happy and were filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 13:52
Gods gift of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus in the Gospels and this will be seen to be more experienced in the lives of the believers as we read the letters of the New Testament.
In Iconium (Acts 14:3), "Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a while, having faith in the Lord and bravely speaking his message. The Lord gave them the power to work miracles and wonders, and he showed that their message about his great kindness was true."
In many places in Acts the Lord confirmed his message of the Gospel by miracles and wonders.
Eventually some Jewish converts wanted all Gentiles to be circumcised as Moses commanded. This was contrary to the Gospels transformation of people. A meeting of the apostles was held in Jerusalem and after...
Acts 15:7-9 "They had talked it over for a long time, when Peter got up and said: My friends, you know that God decided long ago to let me be the one from your group to preach the good news to the Gentiles. God did this so that they would hear and obey him. He knows what is in everyone's heart. And he showed that he had chosen the Gentiles, when he gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he had given his Spirit to us. God treated them in the same way that he treated us. They put their faith in him, and he made their hearts pure."
The important conclusion of the meeting in Jerusalem by the apostles was the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believers who trusted Jesus. Any objection would have been arguing against Gods acceptance of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. This can be seen in their comments in the following verse. Acts 15:11 "But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in him, just as the Gentiles are."
Acts 16:6-9 "Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. So they went on through Mysia until they came to Troas. During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!"
Again we see here that the Holy Spirit is not a force, but a person who speaks, directs, and empowers. We also have the same idea in the Spirit of Jesus.
In Philippi Paul encountered a girl possessed by a demon. Acts 16:17-18,
"The girl followed Paul and the rest of us and kept yelling, "These men are servants of the Most High God! They are telling you how to be saved." This went on for several days. Finally, Paul got so upset that he turned and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I order you to leave this girl alone!" At once the evil spirit left her."
The name of Jesus is powerful. He is the basis of transformation. This event was followed by accusations by the owners of the girl to the legal authorities and they put Paul and Silas in jail. At midnight they were singing and an earthquake shook the jail and the jailer thought they had escaped. The jailer was about to kill himself but Paul cried out, "Dont do it we are all here."
Acts 16:30-34 "After he had led them out of the jail, he asked, "What must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Have faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved! This is also true for everyone who lives in your home." Then Paul and Silas told him and everyone else in his house about the Lord. While it was still night, the jailer took them to a place where he could wash their cuts and bruises. Then he and everyone in his home were baptized. They were very glad that they had put their faith in God. After this, the jailer took Paul and Silas to his home and gave them something to eat."
The answer to the question, "what must I do to be saved?" is still the same. Have faith in the Lord Jesus.
Acts 17:1-3 "After Paul and his friends had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went on to Thessalonica. A Jewish meeting place was in that city. So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about."
Again and again the message of the Gospel is about the death and resurrection of Jesus. This was the message foretold by the prophets and now fulfilled in Jesus. Why would a Muslim reject this message? One could surmise an atheist would reject the resurrection, but not the death of Jesus. The only reason Mohammed could have rejected it was out of ignorance or misunderstanding or being mislead. The prophecies of his suffering were convincing to many in the Jewish audience and they believed. It does not make sense that the record insists that God brought this about and later Allah did not know about it, or declared it to be false.
Paul eventually came to Athens and preached the gospel there. He was brought before the Areopagus to explain the new teaching to the Greeks.
Acts 17:30-32 "In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. He has set a day when he will judge the world's people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death. As soon as the people heard Paul say that a man had been raised from death, some of them started laughing. Others said, "We will hear you talk about this some other time."
There were many gods in ancient Athens. The reason the people laughed about the resurrection was probably because the gods were powerless. God has great power and it is reflected in the resurrection of Jesus from death. It is also reflected in the many miracles the disciples did in the beginning of the Christian era.
Acts 19:1-7 "While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled across the hill country to Ephesus, where he met some of the Lord's followers. He asked them, "When you put your faith in Jesus, were you given the Holy Spirit?" "No!" they answered. "We have never even heard of the Holy Spirit." "Then why were you baptized?" Paul asked. They answered, "Because of what John taught." Paul replied, "John baptized people so that they would turn to God. But he also told them that someone else was coming, and that they should put their faith in him. Jesus is the one that John was talking about." After the people heard Paul say this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul placed his hands on them. The Holy Spirit was given to them, and they spoke unknown languages and prophesied. There were about twelve men in this group."
This passage shows the incompleteness of the message of John the Baptist. They were lacking in knowledge about the full message of Jesus. They had not received the Holy Spirit in their lives. They did not know the basic information of the gospel, that Jesus had died, was resurrected, and promised the Spirit.
Paul met believers from Ephesus and told them he would not see them again. In his farewell speech to them he told them:
Acts 20:20-23 "When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you. I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus. I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God's Spirit and go there. In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem."
Once again we have the ideas that brought about the doctrine of the Trinity. We have "turning to God" "faith in the Lord Jesus," and "obeying Gods Spirit." The person of the Holy Spirit is stressed in the fore-knowledge that Paul would encounter problems in going to Jerusalem.
Acts 20:28-30 "Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God's church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord's followers."
The pastors were charged to care for the believers that the Holy Spirit placed in their care. The next phrase, "the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son" refers to the crucifixion. This is the real Gospel, that Jesus died for us, his blood was poured out as he said in the Last Supper.
There is the warning against people who will tell lies about the Lords followers. They were the false teachers and false prophets who began in the early decades of the Christian movement and continued to the present including Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Deedat and others.
Continuing their journey they docked at Tyre where "We looked up the Lord's followers and stayed with them for a week. The Holy Spirit had told them to warn Paul not to go on to Jerusalem." Acts 21:4
Another reference to the Spirits activity in warning Paul.
In Caesarea the prophet Agabus met Paul and "He took Paul's belt, and with it he tied up his own hands and feet. Then he told us, "The Holy Spirit says that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt. They will also hand him over to the Gentiles." Acts 21:11
Acts. 26:14-18 "We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, "Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? It's foolish to fight against me!" "Who are you?" I asked. Then the Lord answered, "I am Jesus! I am the one you are so cruel to. Now stand up. I have appeared to you, because I have chosen you to be my servant. You are to tell others what you have learned about me and what I will show you later." The Lord also said, "I will protect you from the Jews and from the Gentiles that I am sending you to. I want you to open their eyes, so that they will turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then their sins will be forgiven, and by faith in me they will become part of God's holy people."
Paul recounts his testimony several times in Acts before rulers. The vision of Jesus is detailed here and the mission he was given to preach about the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name.
Acts 26:22-23 "But all this time God has helped me, and I have preached both to the rich and to the poor. I have told them only what the prophets and Moses said would happen.
I told them how the Messiah would suffer and be the first to be raised from death, so that he could bring light to his own people and to the Gentiles."
Repeatedly there is an appeal to the Scripture to show that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead. That is the message from the beginning and it is still the Message of the Gospel whereby we find forgiveness and life everlasting in Jesus.
Acts 28:25-27 "Since they could not agree among themselves, they started leaving. But Paul said, "The Holy Spirit said the right thing when he sent Isaiah the prophet to tell our ancestors, 'Go to these people and tell them: You will listen and listen, but never understand. You will look and look, but never see. All of you have stubborn hearts. Your ears are stopped up, and your eyes are covered. You cannot see or hear or understand. If you could, you would turn to me, and I would heal you.'"
This is the last summary in the book of Acts. The Christian belief in the Holy Spirit is well-founded in the early beginning of the church. Paul spoke about the Holy Spirit sending Isaiah the prophet in the 8th century BC to warn people about being stubborn, not wanting to hear, and understand. If the people in the 8th century would turn to him, they would be healed, and this remains true for the world today, including the Muslim world, if you will turn to Jesus you will be healed.
We have looked at the early church, from the very beginning, and found that Spirit was pervasive in the spread of the Gospel. The Spirit of God was instrumental in the transformation of people. The basis of the Trinity is found not only in the words of Jesus as we have seen in the Gospels, but here as the church expands.
We now turn to the letters of the apostle Paul who wrote all of his epistles before 64 AD.
We do not know the exact date that Paul was put to death by the Romans.
We will start with Romans. The New Testament books were most likely written before 70 AD. Jesus said that the Temple would be destroyed in that generation. If books were written after 70 AD it would have been easy to confirm that prediction and make use of it. There are no references to the destruction of the Temple in any of the books.
Romans, written by Paul about 57 AD to the believers in Rome.
Rom. 1:1-4 "From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus. God chose me to be an apostle, and he appointed me to preach the good news that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures. This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death."
The letter to the Romans is one of the more doctrinal letters. From the beginning he speaks of the Son who was put to death but he was proven to be the Son of God by the Holy Spirit because of his being raised from death.
Rom. 1:7-9 "This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his very own people. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! First, I thank God in the name of Jesus Christ for all of you. I do this because people everywhere in the world are talking about your faith. God has seen how I never stop praying for you, while I serve him with all my heart and tell the good news about his Son."
There is prayer to God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christone God. The father was known by his revelation in the Old Testament. The good news is about his Son, our Lord, who became incarnate, died on the cross, was raised to life again, and is now in the presence of the Father. The presence of Christs Spirit is the continuing ministry of Christ in the world.
Rom. 1:11 "I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God's Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith."
The Spirit of God blesses us with his presence and keeps us in union with Christ.
Rom. 2:15-16 "This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone's secret thoughts, just as my message says."
Since Jesus Christ has been appointed by God to judge the world, then the whole world, including the Muslim world, needs to take notice of this coming event. It wont be Mohammed, Buddha, Hari Krishna, or even Moses. Only Jesus.
Rom. 3:22-25 "God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus."
What is God like? He is merciful. His grace and mercy brought about the sending of Christ to be our sacrifice that we might be forgiven. This is so great an event that it must not be ignored. It is the only way that God accepts people. To ignore Gods great gift is like a slap in the face of God. Would you presume to spit in the face of God?
Rom. 4:24-25 "They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God."
We were sinners and not acceptable to God. But the marvel is that God gave Jesus to die for our sins and we are now forgiven and made acceptable to God. The death of Jesus is crucial to the New Testament. It is almost on every page of the New Testament.
Rom. 5:1-6 "By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. But that's not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love. Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful."
There is so much bound up with the death of Christ on the cross. We were helpless.
By faith we receive Gods Spirit, by faith we are forgiven, by faith we have hope, by faith we have Gods love in our hearts.
Rom. 5:8-11 "But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. But there is more! Now that God has accepted us because Christ sacrificed his life's blood, we will also be kept safe from God's anger. Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by his Son's life. And in addition to everything else, we are happy because God sent our Lord Jesus Christ to make peace with us."
Gods Son died for us. We will be saved by the Sons life. Dont neglect it.
Rom. 6:2-10 "No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? Don't you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father. If we shared in Jesus' death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. We know that sin doesn't have power over dead people. As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God."
By faith in Christ we have a union with Him. This union is more mysterious than marriage itself. Marriage is a mystery in which two people become one by a commitment. In our commitment to Christ as Lord there is a union that stresses what happened to Him happens to us. He died and was raised. We, in union with Him, died to the old life and are raised to a new life in Christ.
Rom. 6:23 "Sin pays off with death. But God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord."
God has only one way into eternal life. Religious works, rituals, pilgrimages, doing alms, saying prayers repeatedlythese things have no meaning to God apart from Jesus Christ.
Gods gift is a gift, it cant be earned. It must be received by faith.
Rom. 7:4 "That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so that we could serve God."
The law was given that sin might be recognized for what it is an offense against God.
All have sinned. How do we get back to God?
Rom. 7:6 "But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law."
The Spirit makes us alive in Christ. Since we died in Christ we are no longer under the Law for acceptance before God.
Rom 8:1-6 "If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won't be punished. The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death. The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ's body to condemn sin. He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires. People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace."
Two things have to be considered. First, how do we escape the punishment due to our sins, not somebody elses? Second, how do we live life now pleasing to God? The first answer is given in Christ freeing us from sin and death. The second is given in the Holy Spirit ruling our thoughts and desires. When this happens there is life and peace.
Rom. 8:9-11 "You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God's Spirit, who lives in you. People who don't have the Spirit of Christ in them don't belong to him. But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins. Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit."
If Islam teaches that there is no Son and therefore no Spirit, then the meaning of the passage is that Muslims do not belong to God. Who do they belong to then?
Rom. 8:14-17 "Only those people who are led by God's Spirit are his children. God's Spirit doesn't make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. God's Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him."
Here again is raised the question, who are Gods children? Muslims do not know whether they will make it to paradise. Even Mohammed wondered about himself. The message of the Gospel is that Gods Spirit makes us sure that we are his children and will share in the glory of Christ, forever.
Rom. 8:26-27 "In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people."
Who is there to help the person who rejects Jesus as the Son of God? In contrast, the Spirit is to help us. In one of the most important experiences of life, prayer to God, even the Spirit helps us when we pray. Prayer is not just repeated prayers composed by somebody else. Prayer is the cry of the troubled heart seeking God and a relationship with God.
Rom. 8:28-29 "We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children."
Other translations say "first of many brethern" which is probably a better rendition.
However, the major truth here is that we Christians are destined to become like Gods Son. This transformation is to begin at the day of faith in Christ and continue into eternity.
Rom. 8:31-34 "What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us."
What awesome love and concern for us!! God gave His Son. The Son died for us and was raised to life for us, and now he intercedes for us. Truly, if God is for us, who can be against us?
Rom. 9:1-2 "I am a follower of Christ, and the Holy Spirit is a witness to my conscience. So I tell the truth and I am not lying when I say my heart is broken and I am in great sorrow."
Pauls confession of being a follower of Christ and the witness of the Spirit to his truthfulness and conscience. Both persons of the Trinity are linked together again and again.
Rom. 10:9-13 "So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others. The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. All who call out to the Lord will be saved."
Do you want to be saved? Do you want to escape the judgement of hell? Will you do what is difficult for you to do in your cultural upbringing? If so, confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from death. Dont ignore Gods gracious invitation.
Rom. 12:11 "Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord."
Rom. 14:7-9 "Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living."
Paul, the strict monotheist, sees no contradiction in saying that we live or die for God or the Lord.
Rom. 14:14-18 "The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit. If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people."
Christ died. This is repeated again and again, Christ died for our sins. The peace that comes to the believer is from the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised.
Rom. 15:5-7 "God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you."
We are to praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To follow Christ is to honor the Father. To honor God is to accept others because Christ has accepted us.
Rom. 15:16-19 "He chose me to be a servant of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles and to do the work of a priest in the service of his good news. God did this so that the Holy Spirit could make the Gentiles into a holy offering, pleasing to him. Because of Christ Jesus, I can take pride in my service for God. In fact, all I will talk about is how Christ let me speak and work, so that the Gentiles would obey him. Indeed, I will tell how Christ worked miracles and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have preached the good news about him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum."
Christ chose Paul to be a servant to preach the good news about the Son of God coming to earth to die for our sins. This message was supported by the way Christ worked miracles and wonders through the power of the Holy Spirit. What more evidence can one require to believe?
Rom 15:30-33 "My friends, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that comes from the Holy Spirit, I beg you to pray sincerely with me and for me. Pray that God will protect me from the unbelievers in Judea, and that his people in Jerusalem will be pleased with what I am doing. Ask God to let me come to you and have a pleasant and refreshing visit. I pray that God, who gives peace, will be with all of you. Amen."
God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit encompassed in the request for prayer.
Rom. 16:25-27 "Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret, but now at last it has been told. The eternal God commanded his prophets to write about the good news, so that all nations would obey and have faith. And now, because of Jesus Christ, we can praise the only wise God forever! Amen."
We now turn to the epistles to the Corinthians, written about 54 or 55 AD.
1 Cor. 1:1-6 "From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower. To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord. My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, who helps you speak and understand so well. Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true."
The people in Corinth worshiped in the name of Jesus. The Father and the Son are mentioned in Pauls prayer. Paul vouches for his message, everything he told about the Lord Jesus Christ is true.
1 Cor.1:9 "God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ."
In the Gospels Jesus called his followers "friends" and here Paul chooses the word "partners" with Gods Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The idea that Gods Son has come in the Incarnation is not a late idea evolved over time. It is part of the early Christian understanding of who Jesus really is.
1 Cor. 1:17-18 "Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work."
The gospel was the good news that Christ was raised from the dead after the crucifixion.
What makes sense? History affirming the death and resurrection of Jesus, or the words of Mohammed that the cross did not take place. The Gospel leads to hope, the other message leads to hopelessness.
1 Cor. 1:22-23 "Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish." But the Cross is Gods power of salvation to anyone who receives it."
1 Cor. 2:1 "Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn't use big words or try to sound wise. In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross."
At the risk of repetition we have more claims of the Gospel that Jesus was crucified.
1 Cor. 2:4-5 "When I talked with you or preached, I didn't try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God's Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God's power and not because of human wisdom."
One cannot become a Christian by self-will. Reform is not the same as transformation. Gods Spirit is necessary to become a believer. One can only receive Gods Spirit by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior. One has to invite Jesus into ones life.
1 Cor.2:8-10 "The rulers of this world didn't know anything about this wisdom. If they had known about it, they would not have nailed the glorious Lord to a cross. But it is just as the Scriptures say, "What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!" God's Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God."
Information about God cannot be gained by science or philosophy. Only by Gods self-revelation can we know about Him. It has never entered the mind of people what God had planned. Gods Spirit has shown us the glory of the Gospel.
1 Cor. 2:14 "That's why only someone who has God's Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn't have God's Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish."
Is it a surprise that Muslims think the Gospel is foolish? Without Gods Spirit one cannot understand. One looks at life differently when one belongs to Jesus.
1 Cor. 3:10-11 "God was kind and let me become an expert builder. I laid a foundation on which others have built. But we must each be careful how we build, because Christ is the only foundation."
Christ is the only foundation for life. We dont confess Mohammed as an apostle since the foundation is already laid. Life is to be built on Christ, not Mohammed, Sharia, or the model of Mohammed. If the foundation of Christ is rejected, the building will not stand.
1 Cor. 3:16-17 "All of you surely know that you are God's temple and that his Spirit lives in you. Together you are God's holy temple, and God will destroy anyone who destroys his temple."
There are two ideas here. The first is the emphasis on Gods Spirit and the implications again for the Trinity. The second is that sacredness of Gods temple whether it be a group of Christian believers or the single Christian who is the temple of the Spirit. There is a grave warning to jihadist who destroy congregations of Christians or who destroy a single Christian who is the temple of Gods Spirit. God will destroy anyone who destroys his temple.
You may kill many Christians, but in so doing you are destroying yourself. There will be no group of virgins waiting in paradise for you. Destruction by God will be your judgement.
1 Cor. 5:6-7 "Stop being proud! Don't you know how a little yeast can spread through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast! Then you will be like fresh bread made without yeast, and that is what you are. Our Passover lamb is Christ, who has already been sacrificed."
The Passover involved the sacrifice of a lamb. Christ is described as the Passover lamb for the Christian in giving his life on the cross. The Passover celebrated the deliverance of the Jewish people from the angel of death in the story of the Exodus. The blood of the lamb was placed on the door posts of the houses. Jesus said that his blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
1 Cor. 6:11 "Some of you used to be like that. But now the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of God's Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God."
Inviting Jesus into your life begins a life changing experience. Gods Spirit begins to change the interior life of the believer and one experiences cleansing of sin, guilt, and the past, and the forgiveness that comes changes our relationship with God, we are accepted.
1 Cor. 6:14 "God will raise us from death by the same power that he used when he raised our Lord to life."
Gods power at work in believers is the same power that brought Jesus from death to life.
1 Cor. 6:19-20 "You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God."
Jesus promised the Spirit to be in union with the believers. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. One cannot earn, buy, or win the Holy Spirit. He comes into the life of the believers by faith in Jesus, the crucified Lord.
1 Cor. 7:17 "In every church I tell the people to stay as they were when the Lord Jesus chose them and God called them to be his own. Now I say the same thing to you."
As one reads the letters of the New Testament there is an interchange between the Lord Jesus and God (the Father). This will be seen in many of the opening letters of the New Testament.
1 Cor. 7:23 "God paid a great price for you. So don't become slaves of anyone else."
The price was the death of his Son on the cross.
1 Cor. 8:4-6 "Even though food is offered to idols, we know that none of the idols in this world are alive. After all, there is only one God. Many things in heaven and on earth are called gods and lords, but none of them really are gods or lords. We have only one God, and he is the Father. He created everything, and we live for him. Jesus Christ is our only Lord. Everything was made by him, and by him life was given to us."
Christians have always affirmed monotheism. An infinite eternal Being cannot be fully understood by a finite creature. One can know the character of God only by revelation. The Christian claim is that God became incarnate in Christ Jesus as the Son. The Father is still the Father at the same time that the Incarnation took place. Christians didnt invent this. It is part of the mystery of God that was not fully known before the event, but was revealed by Jesus "in the fullness of time."
1 Cor. 8:10-13 "You know all this, and so it doesn't bother you to eat in the temple of an idol. But suppose a person with a weak conscience sees you and decides to eat food that has been offered to idols. Then what you know has destroyed someone Christ died for. When you sin by hurting a follower with a weak conscience, you sin against Christ. So if I hurt one of the Lord's followers by what I eat, I will never eat meat as long as I live."
The issue was the problem of living in a culture where meat was available from the temple of an idol. Dont destroy the weak brother for whom Christ died. The historical emphasis on the death of Jesus comes out in unusual places and ways. The Christian message cannot be understood without affirming the death of Christ on the cross. History affirms it. Mohammed denied it. Who do you believe was right?
1 Cor. 10:1-9 "Friends, I want to remind you that all of our ancestors walked under the cloud and went through the sea. This was like being baptized and becoming followers of Moses. All of them also ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, which flowed from the spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ. But most of them did not please God. So they died, and their bodies were scattered all over the desert. What happened to them is a warning to keep us from wanting to do the same evil things. They worshiped idols, just as the Scriptures say, "The people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance around." So don't worship idols. Some of those people did shameful things, and in a single day about twenty-three thousand of them died. Don't do shameful things as they did. And don't try to test Christ, as some of them did and were later bitten by poisonous snakes."
When the early Christians learned who Christ really was, God Incarnate, they began to see his work expressed in the Old Testament. In this case the provisions of the Exodus story were really the work of the pre-existent Christ.
1 Cor. 11:23-26 "I have already told you what the Lord Jesus did on the night he was betrayed. And it came from the Lord himself. He took some bread in his hands. Then after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this and remember me." After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, "This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you. Drink this and remember me." The Lord meant that when you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about his death until he comes."
Jesus prepared his disciples for his death by giving them a night to remember in which he instituted what is called the Lords Supper. The broken body and the blood poured out relate to his death. It is also the beginning of the New Covenant guaranteeing forgiveness to us.
1 Cor. 12:2-5 "I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the same Lord...."
Jesus said that the Spirit would testify of Him. This is confirmed in the life of the believers then and now.
1 Cor. 12:8-11 "Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us."
The actions of the Spirit are manifested in the lives of believers in different ways. The gifts of the Spirit are Gods gifts for the living of the Christian life and its mission.
1 Cor. 12:13 "Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit."
When one makes a commitment to another person, such as a spouse, there is a union and what happens to one person affects the other person. In a similar sense, our commitment to Christ involves us with Him in a much deeper sense. We are immersed into Him and we become a part of his body in the church, not a physical building, but his body. The Spirit places us there.
Again, we have two persons of the Trinity involved in this action.
1 Cor. 14:1 "Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy."
The work of the Spirit began in a dramatic way at Pentecost and He is mentioned frequently in the letters of the New Testament. He is always connected with the Father and the Son.
1 Cor. 15:3-8 "I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say. Christ appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After this, he appeared to more than five hundred other followers. Most of them are still alive, but some have died. He also appeared to James, and then to all of the apostles. Finally, he appeared to me, even though I am like someone who was born at the wrong time."
Paul affirms the most important part of the Christian message, Christ died for our sins, was buried, and raised to life three days later. If you dont accept this you simply reject the heart of the Gospel message. It is a message about something that happened recently, in Paul time, and it is the message that changes the world.
1 Cor. 15:12-20 "If we preach that Christ was raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If they won't be raised to life, Christ himself wasn't raised to life. And if Christ wasn't raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith. If the dead won't be raised to life, we have told lies about God by saying that he raised Christ to life, when he really did not. So if the dead won't be raised to life, Christ wasn't raised to life. Unless Christ was raised to life, your faith is useless, and you are still living in your sins. And those people who died after putting their faith in him are completely lost."
There were people like the Sadducees who did not believe in any resurrection. We dont know who Paul refers to here. The fact is that the resurrection did take place and was seen by many people, up to 500 at one time. If the resurrection did not take place their faith was useless and people were completely lost if it did not happen.
1 Cor. 15:20 "But Christ has been raised to life! And he makes us certain that others will also be raised to life."
The resurrection of Christ, and the appearance of Jesus to Paul was the motivation for his great travels to share the good news about Jesus. Again, the resurrection presupposes the death on the Cross which is the big problem for the Muslim reader. Over and over the death and resurrection of Jesus are affirmed in the epistles of the New Testament.
1 Cor. 15:23-28 "But we must each wait our turn. Christ was the first to be raised to life, and his people will be raised to life when he returns. Then after Christ has destroyed all powers and forces, the end will come, and he will give the kingdom to God the Father. Christ will rule until he puts all his enemies under his power, and the last enemy he destroys will be death. When the Scriptures say that he will put everything under his power, they don't include God. It was God who put everything under the power of Christ. After everything is under the power of God's Son, he will put himself under the power of God, who put everything under his Son's power. Then God will mean everything to everyone."
This passage points up two different issues. The first issue is that Christ was raised to life and that follows his being put to death. The second point relates God the Father and Gods Son who is Jesus the Christ. Repeatedly the statements that relate to the Trinity come up.
II Corinthians, written months later than I Corinthians.
2 Cor. 1:2-3 "I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort."
The phrase "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" occurs frequently in the epistles. Remember that Paul was a strict monotheist who was involved in killing followers of Jesus, the Christians. Following Jesus appearance to him on the road to Damascus he now learned that Jesus is Lord, God in the flesh. To speak of the Father and the Son as Lord did not compromise his monotheism.
2 Cor. 1:5 "We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives."
The terrible suffering was the crucifixion.
2 Cor. 1:18-22 "God can be trusted, and so can I, when I say that our answer to you has always been "Yes" and never "No." This is because Jesus Christ the Son of God is always "Yes" and never "No." And he is the one that Silas, Timothy, and I told you about. Christ says "Yes" to all of God's promises. That's why we have Christ to say "Amen" for us to the glory of God. And so God makes it possible for you and us to stand firmly together with Christ. God is also the one who chose us and put his Spirit in our hearts to show that we belong only to him."
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God gives his Spirit in our hearts. The trinity is here in a few verses. The Trinity is important, but there is also another wonderful truth here. The Holy Spirit indicates that we belong to Jesus. The Greek word speaks of the Spirit as the guarantee that the promises of God will be fulfilled to us. A follower of Jesus can say with confidence, when I die I will be in the presence of God. This is possible because the Spirit has entered our hearts and lives. Most Muslims have no confidence of going to paradise. It is a waiting game to see what Allah will do. If you are a women it is even worse. Mohammed claimed to have a vision of hell filled with women, so there is little hope for a Muslim woman. In contrast, the promise of God is Yes! And the Spirit is the Guarantee that it will happen for anyone, man or woman.
2 Cor. 2:14-15 "I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death."
The Gospel of Jesus is compared to a perfume that is delightful to one person, but a stench to another. The difference: believing in Jesus or not believing in Him. The believer joys in knowing Jesus. The unbeliever who rejects Jesus regards it all as wrong. The Gospel brings people to a better life now, and everlasting life later.
2 Cor. 3:3-4 "You are like a letter written by Christ and delivered by us. But you are not written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. You are written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God. We are sure about all this. Christ makes us sure in the very presence of God."
Here is another example of Christ, the Spirit of God, and the Father.
2 Cor. 3:6 "He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life."
Jesus said that he had come to bring real life. The presence of His Spirit in the believers life produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, all the good things of life.
2 Cor. 3:8-10 "So won't the agreement that the Spirit brings to us be even more wonderful? If something that brings the death sentence is glorious, won't something that makes us acceptable to God be even more glorious? In fact, the new agreement is so wonderful that the Law is no longer glorious at all."
What could be more wonderful than forgiveness by God, a promise by Him that we have everlasting life in his presence, and the presence and gift of his Spirit right now?
2 Cor. 3:17-18 "The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord's Spirit sets us free. So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord's Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord."
In the Trinity there is a distinction of persons, but oneness of nature. This verse affirms the oneness of the Lord and the Spirit, but the persons are distinct. However, dont overlook the fact that the believer is being transformed by the Spirit. The Spirit is Christs gift to the believer and is our companion in the journey.
2 Cor. 4:3-5 "If there is anything hidden about our message, it is hidden only to someone who is lost. The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants."
What keeps you from believing in Jesus as Lord? The answer here is that the god of this world has blinded your mind. This is strong stuff. Ask yourself why! History is on the side of the Gospel, not Mohammed. Dont be misled by Hollywoods culture to think that they give a picture of Christian life. That is Satans strategy. The transforming message is that Jesus is Lord. That will change the way you look at the world.
2 Cor. 4:6 "The Scriptures say, "God commanded light to shine in the dark." Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ."
Even Muslims honor Jesus in some sense. But the most important issues are rejected.
Gods glory is revealed in Jesus. This is possible because Jesus is the Son of God. God appears in human form and we see his glory. We have been delivered from darkness into light by Jesus.
2 Cor. 4:1 "So we speak because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life. And just as God raised Jesus, he will also raise us to life. Then he will bring us into his presence together with you."
Another reference to the resurrection following the crucifixion. This is not merely an event of the past. It is an event that relates to us. Because he was raised we too shall be raised.
Life here is not the end of the story, it is only the beginning. An eternal Being, Yahweh, loves the world and seeks to bring men and women back into a relationship with Himself. It is all His doing. We cannot win, buy, or merit his love. Love is bestowed freely to all who will receive His love. Asking Jesus to come into your heart and life is the first step along the way.
2 Cor. 5:4-5 "These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don't do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die. God is the one who makes all of this possible. He has given us his Spirit to make us certain that he will do it."
God is not distant and unknowable as in Islam. God does not merely reveal his will as Muslims claim. God reveals Himself in the person of Jesus, and God has given his Spirit as the warranty that his promises will come to pass. One can only say with confidence "I am going to heaven" because one has Gods gift of his Spirit.
2 Cor. 5:14-20 "We are ruled by Christ's love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us. We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others. What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God."
These verses are packed with the Gospel. God was in Christ. God sent Christ into the world to make peace. Christ died for us all. God came in Christ seeking to bring us back to Himself. What love! How awesome! God is begging you, dear Muslim, to listen to this message and receive it in your heart.
2 Cor. 6:6-7 "But we have kept ourselves pure and have been understanding, patient, and kind. The Holy Spirit has been with us, and our love has been real. We have spoken the truth, and God's power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right."
If you are tired of your sin, your guilt, and the wretchedness of your existence, the Holy Spirit in your life can make the difference. There is forgiveness, cleansing, and peace in His presence in your life. Please note again that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity spoken about from the beginning of the Christian movement.
2 Cor. 11:3-4 "But now I fear that you will be tricked, just as Eve was tricked by that lying snake. I am afraid that you might stop thinking about Christ in an honest and sincere way. We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message."
We are warned about being tricked by false teachers. There were false teachers in Pauls day. People appeared talking about "another Jesus." Their message was false and inadequate. The same may be said about the Quran in which the real Jesus is ignored or rejected. Again and again we have seen in the Gospels and Letters of the New Testament that the real Jesus is the Son of God who died for us. Another example of false teaching is in the book, "A Course in Miracles" which denies the historical Jesus, the fact of sin, and the uniqueness of the Gospel.
2 Cor. 11:31 "God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, knows I am not lying. And God is to be praised forever!"
In the midst of describing his suffering Paul affirms the relationship between the Father and the Son in claiming to tell the truth.
2 Cor. 13:4-5 "Although he was weak when he was nailed to the cross, he now lives by the power of God. We are weak, just as Christ was. But you will see that we will live by the power of God, just as Christ does. Test yourselves and find out if you really are true to your faith. If you pass the test, you will discover that Christ is living in you. But if Christ isn't living in you, you have failed."
Jesus was nailed to the cross. This is repeated a number of times because it is the Gospel, the good news of something that happened recently in that era. A crucifixion alone does nothing but a resurrection following it is all the difference in the world. It means we can live by the power of God. The question that is important for anyone is this: "is Christ living in you?" If not, why not?
2 Cor. 13:13-14 "I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will bless you and be kind to you! May God bless you with his love, and may the Holy Spirit join all your hearts together."
This Trinitarian statement often concludes many of the letters of Paul.
Galatians, probable date would be 56 AD.
Gal. 1:1-4 "From the apostle Paul and from all the Lord's followers with me. I was chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ and by God the Father, who raised him from death. No mere human chose or appointed me to this work. To the churches in Galatia. I pray that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Christ obeyed God our Father and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to rescue us from this evil world."
Jesus appeared to Paul and chose him as an apostle which was also an act of God the Father. Moreover, he prayed to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ obeyed the Father in giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Repeatedly the idea of dying for our sins appears in the New Testament.
Gal. 1:7-9 "But some people are causing you trouble and want to make you turn away from the good news about Christ. I pray that God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from our message to you! It doesn't matter if that person is one of us or an angel from heaven. I have said it before, and I will say it again. I hope God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from what you have already believed."
The words of Paul relate to anyone who changes the message, even Mohammed. Mohammed certainly changed the Christian message, rejecting the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus as well as his death for our sins.
The certainty of Pauls message is found in the following, "My friends, I want you to know that no one made up the message I preach. It wasn't given or taught to me by some mere human. My message came directly from Jesus Christ when he appeared to me." Gal. 1:11-12
"But we know that God accepts only those who have faith in Jesus Christ. No one can please God by simply obeying the Law. So we put our faith in Christ Jesus, and God accepted us because of our faith." Gal. 2:16
The only way to be accepted with God the Father is to have faith in Jesus Christ. Merely acknowledging the existence of Isa in the Quran will not do it. He is not trusted as Lord and Savior, as the Son of God. In the Quran he is merely a prophet. That is not the Gospel, it is a perversion of the true Gospel.
Gal. 2:19-21 "It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so that I could live for God. I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I don't turn my back on God's undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die."
When one sinned the law killed the relationship with God. When one trusts Jesus as Lord and Savior there is a union by faith with him. What happened to Him happens to the believer. Our union with him means we were also crucified and died to the law. But Christ rose from the dead and we become new creatures in Christ. This happens by faith in the Son of God....who gave his life for us, on the cross.
A deep question arises in this passage. Have you turned your back on Gods undeserved kindness?
Gal. 3:1-3 "You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? I want to know only one thing. How were you given God's Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God's Spirit started in you?"
How unwise can one be? The Gospel preached to them was that Jesus was nailed to a cross. Obedience to the law did not bring the Spirit of God into their lives.
Gal. 3:5-7 "God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him? The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith. And so, you should understand that everyone who has faith is a child of Abraham."
One of the new things in the Christian faith in contrast to Abraham is that God gives his Spirit to the believer in Christ. Abraham did not have the Spirit indwelling.
Gal. 3:12-14 "The Law isn't based on faith. It promises life only to people who obey its commands. But Christ rescued us from the Law's curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse. And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing that was promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles. This happened so that by faith we would be given the promised Holy Spirit."
Have you never broken the law of God? If you have not, great, but the Scripture declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is the curse of the law.
Gal 3:26-29 "All of you are God's children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes. Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman. So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham's family, and you will be given what God has promised."
Faith in Christ has profound results in what it does to all who believe. There is equality in persons. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile (or former Muslim), a slave or a free person, man or woman. Equality is the result of Christ. Anyone denying this equality denies what Christ has done. This is the theological base for equality of women. It has not been applied as it should have been through the centuries around the world. Women have had more freedom in the West than in the East. The position of women in India, in Muslim cultures, in traditional Chinese culture is atrocious. Equality is what Christ gives to each person.
Gal. 4:4-6 "But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God's children. Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father."
These verses pull together again the ideas that led to the Trinity. God sent his Son, born of a woman, the virgin Mary. The Spirit of his Son tells us that God is our Father. Here we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a rich form of monotheism.
Gal. 5:3-6 "If you do, you must obey the whole Law. And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. But the Spirit makes us sure that God will accept us because of our faith in Christ. If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others."
Pauls comments about trying to obey the whole law cuts one off from Christ. Religious works as a means of trying to please God and win his favor repudiates all that Christ did for us.
What matters is faith in Christ. Then the Holy Spirit is at work in transforming our lives.
People who have a routine of praying 5 times a day, going on pilgrimages, fasting as a cultural practice, etc. are trying to win Gods approval. The Gospel says, "it cannot be done."
Trying to win Gods favor is like insulting him. What can a pitiful human being do that would win Gods favor since we are all sinners?
Gal. 5:16-18 "If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you."
Jesus promised the Spirit for the believer to transform the person of faith. Trust in Jesus frees us from the Law of Moses to live by agape, love. If you love someone you will not harm them.
Gal. 5:22-25 "God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit."
The goal of Gods Spirit is to transform the follower of Christ. The Spirit brings love, joy, peace, patience, etc. People have sought happiness in all the wrong places. Here is the place for finding happiness.
Gal. 6:7-8 "You cannot fool God, so don't make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life."
Do you want eternal life? The choice is yours.
Gal. 6:12 "Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don't want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ."
Some people followed Paul around insisting that believers in Jesus be circumcised.
The early church rejected this requirement. Here Paul criticized them in seeking to avoid persecution about the preaching of the cross of Christ. That was the new message from God and if he had not been preaching about the crucified Lord he would not have been persecuted.
One parting comment, you cant fool God. If you follow the Spirit you will have eternal life. Who would want less than life in Gods presence. It cannot be achieved by religious rites, only by the grace and gift of God in the death and resurrection of Christ.
Ephesians, written probably about 60 AD.
Eph. 1:2-6 "I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God's own adopted children. God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God."
Before the world was created, God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ choose us to live with him as his loving people. Meditate on this paragraph. Creation was not a quirk. It came about because God is love and love bestows worth and value on others.
Eph.1:7-9 "Christ sacrificed his life's blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways."
Vengeance is the rule of so much of the world. God has come in the person of Jesus to declare that forgiveness is the goal of life. God forgives and we must forgive. Transformation is possible in Jesus.
Eph. 1:10-14 "Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth. God always does what he plans, and that's why he appointed Christ to choose us. He did this so that we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honored and praised."
Jesus Christ is the means of understanding the meaning of the universe. Christ brought us the truth. There is no other truth because other truth claims are different from Him. Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Hinduism, Lao-tzu, whoever, all claim a different message. Jesus claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life, and if that is true, other claims are wrong.
That is politically incorrect in a multi-cultural world, but America is probably the only culture in which multi-culturalism is accepted. Islam does not accept multi-culturalism.
Here again the Greek word for earnest money, or down payment is used. The Spirit given the believer to confirm to us that we are Gods adopted sons and daughters, and he will fulfill his promise to us.
Eph. 1:17 "I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God."
These are the phrases that required the doctrine of the trinity to be formed. The doctrine is an attempt to deal with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as spoken of in the New Testament.
Eph. 1:19-23 "I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. The church is Christ's body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything."
The power of God is described in doing the seeming impossibleraising Christ from death. Power is important to many people of the world and the jihadist goal is to subjugate everyone to the power of Islam. Whatever transpires in this world by human depravity, the ultimate power is that of Christ and his body, composed of believers through the centuries. Their future is assured in his presence. The jihadist have no place in the kingdom of God, and there is no paradise of virgins for them. That is a lie given from Satan.
Eph. 2:12-16 "At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life's blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God. Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body."
In Pauls day there were two divisions of people, Jews and Gentiles. There was hatred between them. Today there are many divisions, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. However, the same truth prevails. In Christ there is no division of people. All are one in Him. When people realize that Christ died for them it turns their world upside down. Christ brings peace to all who trust him.
Eph. 2:18-19 "And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit. You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God."
God in Christ reveals the Father and the Spirit. We become part of the family of G0d.
Eph. 2:22 "And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God's own Spirit to live."
The believer is compared to a building that someone occupies. In this case the believer is the "building" in which Gods own Spirit lives and transforms our lives like unto Christ.
Eph. 3:11-12 "God did this according to his eternal plan. And he was able to do what he had planned because of all that Christ Jesus our Lord had done. Christ now gives us courage and confidence, so that we can come to God by faith."
God is not distant and unapproachable. He has come to us. We are invited into his presence by faith. Faith in Jesus means we are accepted by God the Father.
Eph. 3:14-17 "I kneel in prayer to the Father. All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him. God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love."
Prayer is to the Father by the Spirit through Christ, our Lord. The statements of the trinity are used in the generation of Jesus.
Eph. 4:3-6 "Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us."
The interchange of terms stresses the oneness of the nature of God with the distinction of three persons. We have the Spirit of God, the Lord, and in this passage the Father who "lives in us." But we have been seeing the phrases "Christ lives in us," and the Spirit lives in us. Now we have the statement that the Father "lives in us." God is at work in us whether we use the term Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. The persons are co-equal, co-eternal and oneness in nature.
Eph. 4:13 "This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him."
The Son of God came to transform his followers. Spiritual growth begins in a new birth and continues to the ultimate transforming like him.
Eph. 4:30-32 "Don't make God's Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins. Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ."
The relationship of God involves the Spirit who is a person who can be grieved. The Spirit is also the assurance of forgiveness from God who forgave because of Christ. Followers of Christ are to forgive because God forgives.
Eph. 5:2 "Let love be your guide. Christ loved us and offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God."
Why would anyone reject the sacrifice of Christ as a historical event? It is written all over the New Testament in the first generation. The crucifixion is also mentioned in pagan as well as Jewish documents.
Eph. 5:5 "Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure that people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God."
The kingdom of God belongs to the followers of Christ. When you belong to Christ you belong to God. You cant belong to God without belonging to Christ first.
Eph. 5:18-21 "Don't destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life. When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart. Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything. Honor Christ and put others first. A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it."
The persons of the Trinity are mentioned here in terms of prayer, in terms of the filling of ones life with the Spirit rather than meaningless activities. At the same time the love of Christ for the church emphasizes the fact he gave his life for it. It is irrational for Muslims to say that these events did not happen. It is also wrong to say that Christians did not believe in the Trinity until centuries later. The New Testament documents verify the early expressions of the Trinity.
Eph. 5:25 "A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it."
Two remarkable ideas are here. First, the important issue that Christ died for the world and his love for those who become part of his body, the church. The second is that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Compare this with the practice of wife beating as sanctioned by Mohammed and the Quran. It is never ok to beat a wife!
Eph. 6:17-18 "Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit. Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people."
The Gospels power comes from the Spirit. Prayer is also related to the Spirits power.
Eph. 6:23-24 "I pray that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give peace, love, and faith to every follower! May God be kind to everyone who keeps on loving our Lord Jesus Christ."
Here is the similar greeting that ends Pauls letters.
Philippians, probably written about 61 AD.
Phil. 1:2-3 "I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Every time I think of you, I thank my God."
The Father and the Son are linked together. The eternal Father and the eternal Son. If God is Father, he must always have been Father, and the Son must always have been the eternal Son. There is no change in the Father from eternity. If God is love there must always have been a beloved, the Son, and the Spirit of love between the Father and the Son.
Phil. 1:19 "I will keep on being glad, because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe."
The Spirit of Christ Jesus is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he would give to us a comforter to be with us forever.
Phil. 2:1 "Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others."
Two persons of the Trinity are mentioned here in terms of love and unity.
Phil. 2:4-11 "Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, "Jesus Christ is Lord!""
Philippians was written about 60 AD. There is no time for legendization about Jesus to take place. It takes centuries for that process to develop. Here in the first generation Jesus the Christ is said to be truly God. The incarnation means he became human like one of us. He died on the cross and was resurrected. The event is so monumental that everyone will eventually fall on their knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Many will do it willingly. Many will do it unwillingly as they face the judgement of God before departing from the presence of light into darkness. The horror of hell is not what God will do to me, but what I do to myself. It is my own doing. God gave his Son for us. Dont wait until judgement day.
Phil. 3:3 "But we are the ones who are truly circumcised, because we worship by the power of God's Spirit and take pride in Christ Jesus."
Paul was deeply aware that the worship of God involved a relationship of the Spirit of God and Jesus Christ.
Phil. 3:7-11 "But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life."
Pauls confession of the worth of Christ surpasses all he had ever treasured. The past was like garbage in comparison to the joy of knowing Jesus as the Savior, the Christ, the Son of God.
Phil. 3:18-21 "I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world. But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body."
Muslims are living as enemies of the cross of Christ in their denial of that event. The judgement of Scripture is that "they are headed for hell." The message of the Gospel is that Muslims come to Jesus that they might wait eagerly for Christs coming from heaven.
Phil. 4:7 "Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel."
Christ Jesus and God are linked together. God approves of who Jesus is and what he has done.
Phil. 4:19-20 "I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus! May God our Father be praised forever and ever. Amen."
A similar conclusion involving God our Father and the Lord Jesus.
Colossians, this book was also written about 60 AD.
Col. 1:1-4 "From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is also a follower. To God's people who live in Colossae and are faithful followers of Christ. I pray that God our Father will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Each time we pray for you, we thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have heard of your faith in Christ and of your love for all of God's people..."
Grace is Gods reaching down, peace is the result of it. Love comes about because God is love and his love is manifested in Christ. When we love him, we learn to love others.
The two persons, Father and Son, or God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, are permeating the writings of the early Christians.
Col. 1:7-10 "... from our good friend Epaphras. He works together with us for Christ and is a faithful worker for you. He is also the one who told us about the love that God's Spirit has given you. We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better."
The Spirit is not some nebulous force, but an eternal person who indwells the believer. The Spirit gives wisdom and understanding. Living in the Spirit honors the Lord and by pleasing the Lord one comes to know God even better.
The Spirit teaches us to love, have joy, and live in His wisdom. In contrast, there are madrassas where young children are taught to hate Jews, Christians and infidels. They are taught to destroy human life, to keep women in bondage, and even destroy themselves if they have a chance to kill others. Only Satan would be happy with such teaching.
Col. 1:12-16 "I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free. Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation. Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God's Son, and everything was made for him."
There is so much in this passage to consider. We have God rescuing us. We are brought into the kingdom of his dear Son. Christ is exactly like God. We cannot see God but people did see Jesus Christ. Jesus said to his disciples, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. We know what God is like because of Jesus telling us of his own nature. The first born Son phrase has no relation to time birth, but the idea of pre-eminence. Psalm 89.27 gives an example of this when God said, "I have chosen David as my first born son, and he will be ruler of all the kings on the earth." David was the last born in the family of Jesse. The idea is that David would have pre-eminence. In the same sense Jesus is exalted because of the incarnation. The creativity of the Son is seen in the comment that all things were created by the Son.
Col. 1:19-22 "God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent."
The incarnation was Gods plan. God was manifest in the Son. His Son became a human and died, sacrificing his blood on the cross. While we are centuries later than the events described here, it is still possible that ones thoughts makes one an enemy of God. If you are denying the incarnation and crucifixion you are making yourself an enemy of God. God has done the unbelievable action of becoming human for you. Dont be an enemy of God.
Col. 2:5-7 "Even though I am not with you, I keep thinking about you. I am glad to know that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful."
Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God in the flesh. This is the foundation for your life.
It is not Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, or anyone else. Why build on something that has no future in eternity.
Col. 2:9-15 "God lives fully in Christ. And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority. Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body. And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death. God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory."
Who is Jesus? The first sentence gives the answer. Who he was is important. What he did is also important. He died for our sins and was resurrected after 3 days. Jesus stands out in contrast to other so-called religious leaders in who he was, what he did, and when he went to heaven.
Col. 3:11-13 "It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you."
Who can forgive sin? Only God. The believers at Colossae were taught that God loves them and that Christ has forgiven their sins. If you have Christ you have God, but you cant have God without Christ.
Col. 3:15-17 "Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him."
When Christ fills your life there is thanksgiving, singing, love and peace toward others.
The trinity is a unity of community. Life as a Christian is to reflect this unity in community.
One gives thanks because of the Lord Jesus to the Father.
Thessalonians, this letter was written about the year 50-51. This would be 20 years after the Ascension of the Lord Jesus.
1 Th. 1:1-3 "From Paul, Silas, and Timothy. To the church in Thessalonica, the people of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that God will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! We thank God for you and always mention you in our prayers. Each time we pray, we tell God our Father about your faith and loving work and about your firm hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
The opening letter repeats the prayer and thanksgiving to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that this letter was written only 20 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The two persons of the Trinity spoken here are the Father and the Son. Shortly we will have a reference to the Holy Spirit.
1 Th. 1:5-6 "When we told you the good news, it was with the power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words. You knew what kind of people we were and how we helped you. So, when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad."
The Spirit brings power and assurance to the life of the believers. In the midst of persecution for their faith, the Holy Spirit made them glad. Similarly, the apostles in Acts rejoiced when they suffered for Jesus.
It must be remembered that the Christians were persecuted. They did not persecute and there is not a shred of evidence for advocating Christians to persecute anyone.
1 Th. 1:9-10 "Everyone is talking about how you welcomed us and how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. They also tell how you are waiting for his Son Jesus to come from heaven. God raised him from death, and on the day of judgment Jesus will save us from God's anger."
The true and living God has a Son named Jesus. Dont forget it. He died on a cross and was raised from death and will be coming again.
If God is love why will He be angry? Perhaps the answer is in the insult that people make in the face of Gods great mercy. What else can he do? He revealed himself, he entered into human life, died on a cross for our sins, was raised to life, gave his Spirit to all who believe with the assurance of everlasting life in his presence. If you turn from that what is left but separation from God. He is angry that you did not accept his gift and grace. He is angry for what you are doing to yourself when He has something so much better for youlife.
1 Th. 2:14-15 "My friends, you did just like God's churches in Judea and like the other followers of Christ Jesus there. And so, you were mistreated by your own people, in the same way they were mistreated by their people. Those Jews killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and they even chased us away. God doesn't like what they do and neither does anyone else."
Mention is made of Gods churches while other places the church is the body of Christ.
Same thing. The crucifixion is again mentioned.
1 Th. 3:11-12 "We pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus will let us visit you. May the Lord make your love for each other and for everyone else grow by leaps and bounds. That's how our love for you has grown."
Prayer to the Father and the Lord Jesus again stressing their relationship. The aim of living the Christian lifestyle is love for each other.
1 Th. 4:1-3 "Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder. Remember the instructions we gave you as followers of the Lord Jesus. God wants you to be holy, so don't be immoral in matters of sex."
Living in union with the Lord Jesus is the way to please God.
1 Th. 4:8 "So if you don't obey these rules, you are not really disobeying us. You are disobeying God, who gives you his Holy Spirit."
Christian living has instruction, but the motivation is the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.
1 Th. 4:14-17 "We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died. Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won't go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died. With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever."
The death and resurrection become the background for understanding Jesus second coming. This description is quite different than the Muslim view of Jesus return in which the trees cry out that a Jew is hiding behind it and calls to have the Jew killed.
1 Th. 5:9-10 "God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes."
The importance of the death of Jesus is so that we could live with him forever.
Islam cannot make such a promise for it denies the death of Jesus.
1 Th. 5:18-19 "Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. Don't turn away God's Spirit...."
We should give thanks to God for what Jesus Christ has done for us. Turning away from Gods Spirit is to be ungrateful and unbelieving.
II Thessalonians, written probably a few weeks later than the first letter to clear up their misunderstanding.
2 Th. 1:1-2 "From Paul, Silas, and Timothy. To the church in Thessalonica, the people of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!"
A new letter brings the same style of greeting about God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Th. 1:6-10 "It is only right for God to punish everyone who is causing you trouble, but he will give you relief from your troubles. He will do the same for us, when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven with his powerful angels and with a flaming fire. Our Lord Jesus will punish anyone who doesn't know God and won't obey his message. Their punishment will be eternal destruction, and they will be kept far from the presence of our Lord and his glorious strength. This will happen on that day when the Lord returns to be praised and honored by all who have faith in him and belong to him. This includes you, because you believed what we said."
Punishment must come from God, not man. The Lord is patient, but his patience will run out at the end of the age. The anger of God is because his great grace has been spurned. God will let people have their own way to their own self-destruction. Jesus never told his followers to do violence to non-believers. Jihad is part of the Islamic world-view, not the Christian view of God.
2 Th.2:12-14 "Then, because God and our Lord Jesus Christ are so kind, you will bring honor to the name of our Lord Jesus, and he will bring honor to you. My friends, the Lord loves you, and it is only natural for us to thank God for you. God chose you to be the first ones to be saved. His Spirit made you holy, and you put your faith in the truth. God used our preaching as his way of inviting you to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Gods love is so huge, so deep, and awesome. By trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior we are invited to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gods love is bound up with the Son. Without the Son there is no glory.
2 Th. 2:16-17 "God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing."
What a contrast to Allah who loves only the obedient ones. God loves us even while we are yet sinners. His love brings us to Him. God is the great Lover who seeks the lost persons.
I Timothy, the date on this book would be somewhere around 64 AD before Pauls death.
1 Tim. 1:1-2 "From Paul. God our Savior and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. Timothy, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind and merciful to you. May they bless you with peace!"
This greeting we have seen in all of his letters. God our Father is also God our Savior. The Father and Son are closely linked together.
1 Tim. 1:12-16 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life."
Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, and this appears repeatedly. Christ came into the worldthe incarnationand he came to give everlasting life to all who trusts in Him.
1 Tim. 2:2-6 "Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior. God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. God showed us this at the right time."
Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God because He is the Son of God, or God incarnate. No mere human can bring us to God. Mohammed is dead, Buddha is dead, Mahavira is dead, and all the rest. They cannot do anything for us, but the Son of God can.
1 Tim. 3:16 "Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory."
The Incarnation is affirmed again. Here again is the relation of the Spirit and God the Father. The fact that he was taken up to glory presupposes his resurrection.
1 Tim. 4:1-2 "God's Spirit clearly says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons. They will also be fooled by the false claims of liars whose consciences have lost all feeling."
Gods Spirit is God in the world. Gods Spirit teaches, directs, and warns. Here we are given the warning about people turning away from their faith in the last days. False teachers will be lead by evil spirits and demons to deceive people. There are lots of examples of this happening.
1 Tim. 4:10 "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, but especially of those who have faith. That's why we work and struggle so hard."
There is an interchange of terms in which God is the Savior, Christ is the Savior and no problems existed in doing this. God the Father expresses the motivation of love, Christ the Son carries out the motivation in the Incarnation, and the Spirit carries the believer through life into the presence of everlasting life because of faith.
1 Tim. 6:3 "Anyone who teaches something different disagrees with the correct and godly teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ."
There are many through the pages of history who have done this. Mohammed is probably the best known example.
1 Tim. 6:14-16 "Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again. Only God lives forever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honored, and his power will last forever. Amen."
Jesus, the Lord, will return. Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords? Does this refer to God the Father or Jesus? Revelation 17:14 speaks of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
II Timothy, the date would be about 67 or the spring of 68 at the latest.
2 Tim. 1:1-2 "From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible. Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!"
The close relation exists also in this letter indicating that Jesus is Lord.
2 Tim. 1:7-10 "God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. Don't be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don't be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news. God saved us and chose us to be his holy people. We did nothing to deserve this, but God planned it because he is so kind. Even before time began God planned for Christ Jesus to show kindness to us. Now Christ Jesus has come to show us the kindness of God. Christ our Savior defeated death and brought us the good news. It shines like a light and offers life that never ends."
In this passage we are told of the activity of the Spiritpower, love and self-controlalong with what Christ has done in defeating death. The act of Christ made possible the giving of the Spirit to all who trust Him.
2 Tim. 1:13-14 "Now follow the example of the correct teaching I gave you, and let the faith and love of Christ Jesus be your model. You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you."
Here is the person of Christ is linked to the Holy Spirit. The model is Jesus, the help toward that life style comes from the Holy Spirit living within.
2 Tim. 2:11-13 "Here is a true message: "If we died with Christ, we will live with him. If we don't give up, we will rule with him. If we deny that we know him, he will deny that he knows us. If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.""
Dying with Christ is only possible by the faith connection in which giving ourselves to him we can experience the dying of our old way of life and gaining a new life in Him.
2 Tim. 4:1 "When Christ Jesus comes as king, he will be the judge of everyone, whether they are living or dead. So with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you to preach God's message. Do it willingly, even if it isn't the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient.
The witness of God the Father is seen in Christ the Son. Christ is coming as King and Judge never to die again.
Titus, written about 64 AD before 2 Timothy and after 1 Timothy.
Tit. 1:2-4 "Then they will have the hope of eternal life that God promised long ago. And God never tells a lie! So, at the proper time, God our Savior gave this message and told me to announce what he had said. Titus, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!"
The act of God reconciling the world to Himself is intimately related to the persons of the Godhead. God our Savior and Christ Jesus our Savior are interchangeable. In a sense what one person of the Trinity does, they all do. Some actions are ascribed to one person, but it is the full nature of God that is involved in the act.
Tit. 2:13-14 "We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right."
Here Jesus is the Great God and Savior who gave himself referring to the Cross.
Tit. 3:4-8 "God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning. God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us his Spirit. Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life."
The Savior is God through Jesus Christ who gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe.
The end result is that there is the gift of everlasting life.
Philemon, probably about 60 AD.
Phm 1:3 "I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!"
In this very short letter we have the same greeting about God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. This is only a letter to person, but the greeting conveys the same theological truth as the letters to the churches.
Hebrews, a book written while temple sacrifices were still conducted, and before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. Perhaps a date of 63-65 AD.
Heb. 1:1-3 "Long ago in many ways and at many times God's prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven."
The Son is emphasized in this book in many ways. Here the creation is a work of the Son, and the Son has all the qualities of the Father. He holds the universe together. The Son also dealt with our sins, washing them away on the cross.
Heb. 1:5-8 "God has never said to any of the angels, "You are my Son, because today I have become your Father!" Neither has God said to any of them, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son!" When God brings his first-born Son into the world, he commands all of his angels to worship him. And when God speaks about the angels, he says, "I change my angels into wind and my servants into flaming fire." But God says about his Son, "You are God, and you will rule as King forever! Your royal power brings about justice. ""
Angels are exalted creations, but the Son is not even related to them. He is God and will rule as King forever.
Heb. 1:10-13 "The Scriptures also say, "In the beginning, Lord, you were the one who laid the foundation of the earth and created the heavens. They will all disappear and wear out like clothes, but you will last forever. You will roll them up like a robe and change them like a garment. But you are always the same, and you will live forever." God never said to any of the angels, "Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you!""
Here we have another affirmation of the role of Christ in creation. The world will end but He will not.
Heb. 2:4 "God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to."
The miracles in the life of Jesus indicated Gods power and approval of Him. The apostles were used to perform wonderful miracles to show that the message was true. Jesus was shown to be the Son of God by the resurrection. While these special events occurred God gives his Holy Spirit to anyone who believes. The Spirit is another indication of the Trinity of God.
Heb. 2:9-11 "What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God's wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor! Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God's children to be saved and to share in his glory. Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters."
Here the death of Jesus is confirmed as elsewhere in many places. This is something that God did for us.
Heb. 2:14-18 "We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted."
Mohammed is dead. Buddha is dead. All the others are dead. Who is alive? Only Jesus.
He can help anyone who is tempted today, now, or in whatever century one has lived.
Mohammed and Buddha did not help anyone, nor can they today.
Heb. 3:5-8 "Moses was a faithful servant and told God's people what would be said in the future. But Christ is the Son in charge of God's people. And we are those people, if we keep on being brave and don't lose hope. It is just as the Holy Spirit says, "If you hear God's voice today, don't be stubborn! Don't rebel like those people who were tested in the desert."
If Christ is the Son in charge of Gods people, what is your relation to Him? Hear the warning of the Holy Spirit about being stubborn. Dont rebel because of false teaching.
Heb. 4:14-16 "We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help."
Jesus the Son of God experienced temptation but did not sin. No one else in all the world can say that. Muslims regard Mohammed as the man to imitate, but Mohammed had to ask forgiveness of Allah. Jesus came to give forgiveness, and did not need to ask for it.
Heb. 5:5-10 "That is how it was with Christ. He became a high priest, but not just because he wanted the honor of being one. It was God who told him, "You are my Son, because today I have become your Father!" In another place, God says, "You are a priest forever just like Melchizedek." God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him. This is because God chose him to be a high priest like Melchizedek."
The affirmation that Jesus is Gods own Son should make a Muslim consider what he has been taught and why. There are many warnings in the Scripture about denying that Jesus is the Son of God. This denial cuts one off from the family of God.
Heb. 6:4-6 "But what about people who turn away after they have already seen the light and have received the gift from heaven and have shared in the Holy Spirit? What about those who turn away after they have received the good message of God and the powers of the future world? There is no way to bring them back. What they are doing is the same as nailing the Son of God to a cross and insulting him in public!"
To deny the cross is to insult God. To deny that Jesus is the Son of God is to insult God.
To deny the Holy Spirit is to insult God. Why would anyone want to insult God?
Heb. 7:25-28 "He is forever able to save the people he leads to God, because he always lives to speak to God for them. Jesus is the high priest we need. He is holy and innocent and faultless, and not at all like us sinners. Jesus is honored above all beings in heaven, and he is better than any other high priest. Jesus doesn't need to offer sacrifices each day for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He offered a sacrifice once for all, when he gave himself. The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God's promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son. And he is the perfect high priest forever."
One of the problems facing a person is how to get to God. We cannot get there on our own. We have sinned. We are alienated from God. God is holy and we cannot enter his presence. So how can we know about God. Jesus is our Savior, our leader into the presence of God. Jesus is the mediator between us and God. God the Father has appointed God the Son to be the mediator between sinful man and the holy God. He has done this by offering Himself for us. This is reflected in the following verse.
Heb. 8:1 "What I mean is that we have a high priest who sits at the right side of God's great throne in heaven."
This passages goes on to say that Jesus is the maker of the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah (31:31ff), Ezekiel (16:60, 37:26), and Isaiah (55:3, 61:8) in which God promises to forgive our sins and put his laws in our hearts.
Heb. 9:8-12 "All of this is the Holy Spirit's way of saying that no one could enter the most holy place while the tent was still the place of worship. This also has a meaning for today. It shows that we cannot make our consciences clear by offering gifts and sacrifices. These rules are merely about such things as eating and drinking and ceremonies for washing ourselves. And rules about physical things will last only until the time comes to change them for something better. Christ came as the high priest of the good things that are now here. He also went into a much better tent that wasn't made by humans and that doesn't belong to this world. Then Christ went once for all into the most holy place and freed us from sin forever. He did this by offering his own blood instead of the blood of goats and bulls."
There is a similarity between Jewish ritual practices and Muslim ritual practices. We cannot make our conscience clear by washing of the body which does not touch the interior of our being. The sacrifice of Christ did away with these practices. Instead of water for the body, the Holy Spirit cleanses the soul. Rituals are a deception and waste of time. It appears one is doing something when in reality rituals keep one from encountering God.
Heb. 9:14-15 "But Christ was sinless, and he offered himself as an eternal and spiritual sacrifice to God. That's why his blood is much more powerful and makes our consciences clear. Now we can serve the living God and no longer do things that lead to death. Christ died to rescue those who had sinned and broken the old agreement. Now he brings his chosen ones a new agreement with its guarantee of God's eternal blessings!"
The Muslim has a problem when it comes to Jesus. There is a certain respect and regard for him as a prophet. Very little is said about Jesus claiming to be a prophet. We have seen in the Gospels and now the rest of the New Testament that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, the Savior. He is much more than a prophet. Here He is the one who brings the guarantee of Gods eternal blessings!! Please dont take the word of Mohammed concerning Jesus and miss out on Gods great blessings for eternity.
Heb. 9:24-28 "This is why Christ did not go into a tent that had been made by humans and was only a copy of the real one. Instead, he went into heaven and is now there with God to help us. Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn't like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal. If he had offered himself every year, he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world. But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all, so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin. We die only once, and then we are judged. So Christ died only once to take away the sins of many people. But when he comes again, it will not be to take away sin. He will come to save everyone who is waiting for him."
The first coming was to deal with sin. The second coming of Jesus will be to save everyone waiting for him. He died once and will die no more. We will die once and die no more because of his death for us. There is no second death for the Christian. There is the second death to those who reject Christ. Being cast away from the presence of God is to be cast into hell.
Heb. 10:5-7 "When Christ came into the world, he said to God, "Sacrifices and offerings are not what you want, but you have given me my body. No, you are not pleased with animal sacrifices and offerings for sin." Then Christ said, "And so, my God, I have come to do what you want, as the Scriptures say."
These verses along with others affirm the pre-existence of Christ, the Messiah, who became embodied in Jesus. What he came to do is mentioned in the following verses.
Heb. 10:10-17 "So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all. The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good forever. Now he is sitting at God's right side, and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power. By his one sacrifice he has forever set free from sin the people he brings to God. The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said, "When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts. Then I will forget about their sins and no longer remember their evil deeds.""
Repeatedly the reference to Christs death meets us as we read the New Testament. It is intimately connected with forgiveness, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and life in the presence of God.
Heb. 10:18-20 "When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices. My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself."
The blood of Jesus refers to his death on the cross. He opened the way into the presence of God so that we can pray with confidence that He will hear us.
Heb. 1029-31 "But it is much worse to dishonor God's Son and to disgrace the blood of the promise that made us holy. And it is just as bad to insult the Holy Spirit, who shows us mercy. We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!"
The sacred texts of the Bible give to us the early teaching of the church as the Gospel was preached. There were people who insulted the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. To deny that God sent his Son into the world is not only an insult, but it is a deliberate turning away from Gods gift.
Heb. 12:2-3 "We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up."
If you dont keep your eyes on Jesus, who are you looking at? In these passages you have been given a glimpse of a loving God who reveals himself, promises the gift of his Spirit in your life, with forgiveness and everlasting life to boot. Allah does not reveal himself, (only his will) does not give everlasting life in his presence, and is stingy with the idea of forgiveness. Compare the Son of God with a man who claims to be a prophet.
Heb. 12:22-25 "You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate.
Here you will find all of God's dearest children, whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect. And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God's new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel. Make sure that you obey the one who speaks to you. The people did not escape, when they refused to obey the one who spoke to them at Mount Sinai. Do you think you can possibly escape, if you refuse to obey the one who speaks to you from heaven?"
A Christian who suffered persecution looked forward to the presence of God. Here encouraging words are given concerning the city of God where Jesus is, who made the new covenant with his own lifes blood. Consider the options involved in refusing Gods grace and pursuing your own path.
Heb. 13:8 "Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
He was the pre-existent Son, he became embodied in Jesus in history, and is now forever the Son of God in heaven who will return yet in the future.
Heb. 13:12-15 "Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate, so that his blood would make people holy. That's why we should go outside the camp to Jesus and share in his disgrace.
On this earth we don't have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city. Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus."
The crucifixion was outside the city at the place of the skull where criminals were crucified. Jesus suffered there. His life and death and resurrection make it possible for us to have everlasting life and we can praise God in the name of Jesus.
Heb. 13:20-21 "God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God's eternal agreement with his flock. I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen."
The assurance of heaven is not based on my good works, but on Christs eternal agreement. Mohammed didnt like music and in some countries Muslims now forbid music. But in the presence of God there will be rejoicing, praising God in song with all the angels. Joy unspeakable will be experienced in the presence of Gods people and His presence.
James, the book was written sometime between 45 and 48 AD.
Jas. 1:1 "From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world."
There was no awareness of conflict between being a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. To serve one is to serve the other.
Jas. 2:1 "My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won't treat some people better than others."
Christ treated people in equality, both men and women, and position did not rank with Him. Therefore, the followers of Jesus are to imitate his life.
Jas. 3:9 "My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn't right."
Praise to the Father and to the Son, or praise to the Lord and the Father. This is from James, a devout monotheist, who came to experience the Father in the Son.
Jas. 4:5 "Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, "God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us"?"
James is also aware of Gods Spirit, a gift for all believers.
I Peter, written somewhere around 64-65.
1 Pet. 1:2-4 "God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. I pray that God will be kind to you and will keep on giving you peace! Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear."
In this passage we have the references to the tri-personality of God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit, one God in three distinct, but not separate persons. The Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father, and the Spirit is in both of them. When you have the Spirit you have the Son, and the Father.
1 Pet. 1:10-12 "Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it."
The Spirit of God did not just appear on the scene in the Christian era. The prophets were inspired by the Spirit of God. A remarkable passage in Exodus 31:3 describes Bezalel who was filled with Gods Spirit, "Not only have I filled him with my Spirit, but I have given him wisdom and made him a skilled craftsman who can create objects of art with gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood." There are many other references in the Old Testament to the Spirit of God.
1 Pet. 1:13 "Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears."
Muslims believe that Jesus is coming again. They have some erroneous views about what is going to happen. Mohammed is not coming again. There is only one person who has hope and help for usthat is Jesus. Put your hope in Him.
1 Pet. 1:19-21 "You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That's why you have put your faith and hope in God."
It is only our stubbornness that keeps us from accepting what God has planned for us in eternity. Muslims reject the blood of Christ because of Mohammed. Mohammed was a man, not the Son of God. The story of Jesus is head and shoulders above Mohammed. There is a world of difference between the two. Jesus died for us. Mohammed had people killed for revenge. Jesus was raised from death and that is why all should put their faith in Him.
1 Pet 2:4-7 "Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone that people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honored. And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. It is just as God says in the Scriptures, "Look! I am placing in Zion a choice and precious cornerstone. No one who has faith in that one will be disappointed." You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn't precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all."
Would you willingly throw away the most precious thing in all the universe? Of course not. You have to judge whether God is speaking through his Son, or through Mohammed. If you reject Mohammed you have not lost anything. If you toss aside the Son of God you have lost everything.
1 Pet. 2:21-25 "After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you. Christ did not sin or ever tell a lie. Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly. Christ carried the burden of our sins. He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises you are healed. You had wandered away like sheep. Now you have returned to the one who is your shepherd and protector."
Mohammed had people killed for satirical poems about him. Contrast that with Jesus who endured the beatings before the crucifixion, and then the agony of the cross itself. He never tried to get even, nor did he threaten those who conspired against him. He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Dear reader, it is time to turn to the one who is the Good Shepherd, the Savior, the Son of God.
1 Pet. 3:15 "Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope."
I think it was Luther who compared man to a donkey. The question is who will ride the donkey? Will it be Jesus or Mohammed? This verse urges all to let Jesus Christ be Lord of your life.
1 Pet 3:18 "Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God, when his body was put to death and his spirit was made alive."
The death of Christ is the most important event in the life of mankind. Mankinds future turns on accepting this event. Why would Mohammed reject this event and deceive his followers?
1 Pet. 3:21-22 "Those flood waters were like baptism that now saves you. But baptism is more than just washing your body. It means turning to God with a clear conscience, because Jesus Christ was raised from death. Christ is now in heaven, where he sits at the right side of God. All angels, authorities, and powers are under his control."
A clear conscience is only possible because of the death and resurrection of Christ. The stain of everyones personal sin is on their lives until they are cleansed by the Risen Lord.
1 Pet. 4:13-14 "Be glad for the chance to suffer as Christ suffered. It will prepare you for even greater happiness when he makes his glorious return. Count it a blessing when you suffer for being a Christian. This shows that God's glorious Spirit is with you."
He suffered on the cross. He will return. Suffering for being a Christian is made endurable by the Spirit within us. Christians have endured horrendous suffering at the hands of pagans, Muslims, and Communists.
1 Pet. 5:1 "Church leaders, I am writing to encourage you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ's suffering, and I will share in his glory when it is shown to us."
There are many witnesses to Christs suffering. Peter was one of them. These were eye witnesses.
1 Pet. 5:10-11 "But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. God will be in control forever! Amen."
If God appointed Christ Jesus to be the way of sharing his eternal glory, there is no other way. If a Muslim rejects the role that Christ is given, is this based on anything other than the comments of Mohammed? Is it rational to accept Mohammeds view of the history of the past when all the non-Muslim world stands on the historical documentation affirming the crucifixion of Jesus?
II Peter, written shortly before Peters death at 66 or 67 AD.
2 Pet. 1:1-2 "From Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. To everyone who shares with us in the privilege of believing that our God and Savior Jesus Christ will do what is just and fair. I pray that God will be kind to you and will let you live in perfect peace! May you keep learning more and more about God and our Lord Jesus."
Who is our great God and Savior? Jesus Christ! When you learn about God you are learning about Jesus Christ. When you are learning about Jesus Christ you are learning about God. A problem with Muslims is that they dont know much about Jesus Christ even though they claim to respect Him.
2 Pet. 1:10-11 "My friends, you must do all you can to show that God has really chosen and selected you. If you keep on doing this, you won't stumble and fall. Then our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will give you a glorious welcome into his kingdom that will last forever."
Who will welcome you to heaven? The story of the Gospel of Jesus is that it will be the Lord Jesus himself. Does he know you? Do you know him? Do you want to be in heaven?
2 Pet. 1:16-18 "When we told you about the power and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling clever stories that someone had made up. But with our own eyes we saw his true greatness. God, our great and wonderful Father, truly honored him by saying, "This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him." We were there with Jesus on the holy mountain and heard this voice speak from heaven."
Peter could not forget the experience with Jesus on the mount. The message from the Father was, "this is my own Son." When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus the response to him was "Lord." If you give your heart to Jesus you will discover Him as the Son of God, the Lord.
2 Pet. 1:20-21 "But you need to realize that no one alone can understand any of the prophecies in the Scriptures. The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God."
The prophecies spoke of a suffering Messiah, ImmanuelGod with us, the everlasting Father, and these ideas were given by the Spirit of God centuries before the birth of Jesus.
2 Pet. 3:18 "Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen."
The kindness of Jesus is unparalleled in the world. His presence has brought an understanding of God the Father, forgiveness, the gift of the Spirit, changed lives, the elevation of women, mercy of all kinds.
I John, some believe these letters were written before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. Others favor later in the century about 90 AD. It would seem that some allusion would be made to the destruction of Jerusalem if the letters were written after that event. No New Testament document reflects on that prophecy of Jesus being fulfilled. Hence, it makes more sense to affirm them as being written before 70 AD.
1 Jn. 1:1-3 "The Word that gives life was from the beginning, and this is the one our message is about. Our ears have heard, our own eyes have seen, and our hands touched this Word. The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen. Now we are telling you about this eternal life that was with the Father and appeared to us. We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so that you may share in this life with us. And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Another reference to the Incarnation. The Son appeared in human form, Jesus, and he is the one who gives life, to begin with, and everlasting life to those who trust Him as Savior.
1 Jn. 1:7 "But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away."
When you commit your life to Christ the problem of sin and guilt is settled.
1 Jn. 2:2-3 "Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world's people. When we obey God, we are sure that we know him."
Obeying God is to obey the Son.
1 Jn. 2:22-27 "And a liar is anyone who says that Jesus isn't truly Christ. Anyone who says this is an enemy of Christ and rejects both the Father and the Son. If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. But if we say that we accept the Son, we have the Father. Keep thinking about the message you first heard, and you will always be one in your heart with the Son and with the Father. The Son has promised us eternal life. I am writing to warn you about those people who are misleading you. But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you, and you don't need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So stay one in your heart with Christ, just as the Spirit has taught you to do."
The theme that you have the Father and the Son together appears over and over. If you do not have the Son, you dont have the Father. The Son promises eternal life. No one else can make that claim and deliver on it, only Jesus the Son. Dont call God a liar in saying the Son does not exist, nor the Spirit.
1 Jn. 3:8-10 "Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done. God's children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power lives in them and makes them his children, so that they cannot keep on sinning. You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other."
The power of the Son of God will be displayed ultimately in the destruction of the Devil and all his works.
1 Jn. 3:16 "We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That's why we must give our lives for each other."
This verse can only be seen from the standpoint of the crucifixion, a historical fact.
1 Jn. 3:23-24 "God wants us to have faith in his Son Jesus Christ and to love each other. This is also what Jesus taught us to do. If we obey God's commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him."
Faith in the Son, prescribed by the Father, brings about love. The proof of this relationship is that the Spirit has been given to us. The Greek word translated "one" is the word also translated "union," to be in union with Christ. We know that we are in union with Christ because of the gift of the Spirit.
When the early Christians learned all of this about God, they were led in time to formulate a doctrine of the trinity. The concepts are in the early writings, the doctrinal expression was formulated later. It is difficult to read these ideas without being brought to think of God in a more elaborate way than unitarianism, or Islamic concept.
1 Jn. 4:1-2 "Dear friends, don't believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body."
The false prophets roving around in the first century were the emerging Gnostics who denied that real body of Jesus Christ. His body was an illusion, not really real. But this letter also relates to other prophets, as in the case of Mohammed, who denied Jesus as the Son of God.
1 Jn. 4:4-6 "Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God's Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don't know God won't listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies."
Many Muslims will not listen to the truth. The judgement of this verse is that they dont know God. Muslims do not have the Spirit of God in their lives.
1 Jn. 4:9-10 "God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven."
It seems burdensome to mention again the idea of Gods Son, his only Son, the giving of his life as a sacrifice for our sins. One of the purposes of this study was to point up the repeated emphasis on these ideas. They are the message of the Gospel from the beginning to the end.
1 Jn. 4:13-16 "God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay one with God and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us."
This passage points up the problem with Islam. Mohammed did not have God in his life. Whoever Allah was, it was not the same as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father stays with "everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God." Moreover, Mohammeds life does not reflect the love that is related to God.
1 Jn. 5:1 "If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God's children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children."
A better translation would be everyone who loves the Father will also love his child. The verse is referring to the Father and the Son. Because we love the Father we also love the Son.
1 Jn. 5:5 "No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God."
The struggles of life are great and defeat lies ahead. How is it possible to defeat the world? Only by faith in Jesus as the Son of God. These are the words of one of Jesus disciples.
1 Jn. 5:6-13 "Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn't just water, but water and blood. The Spirit tells about this, because the Spirit is truthful. In fact, there are three who tell about it. They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree. We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. If we have faith in God's Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don't believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life. All of you have faith in the Son of God, and I have written to let you know that you have eternal life."
There are serious issues in this passage for Mohammed and his followers. The Spirit is truthful. What does the Spirit say? "If we have faith in Gods Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we dont believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar." Will a Muslim admit that Mohammed called God a liar? This is what the Apostle declared concerning anyone who would not have faith in the Son.
Even more alarming is the statement, "if we dont have the Son, we dont have life."
What does this say about Mohammed? The millions who have followed him? The millions who yet follow him? What does this say about the many countries that do not allow the Christian gospel to be heard?
1 Jn. 5:18-21 "We are sure that God's children do not keep on sinning. God's own Son protects them, and the devil cannot harm them. We are certain that we come from God and that the rest of the world is under the power of the devil. We know that Jesus Christ the Son of God has come and has shown us the true God. And because of Jesus, we now belong to the true God who gives eternal life. Children, you must stay away from idols."
Dear reader, you have been confronted by this letter written by a disciple of Jesus, an eye witness, a companion for the 3 years of Jesus public ministry, an eye witness to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, a witness to the voice of the Father on the mount in which he declared, "This is my son, hear him!" This letter declares that you need the Son if you want everlasting life. This life is in His presence. There are no paradise virgins for anyone. Dont be deceived. Trust Jesus as the Son of God for your forgiveness, your everlasting destiny in the presence of God, flee the darkness of separation from God for a lack of faith in Jesus.
2 John, probably in the early 60s.
2 Jn. 1:3-4 "I pray that God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son will be kind and merciful to us! May they give us peace and truth and love. I was very glad to learn that some of your children are obeying the truth, as the Father told us to do."
2 Jn. 1:9 "Don't keep changing what you were taught about Christ, or else God will no longer be with you. But if you hold firmly to what you were taught, both the Father and the Son will be with you."
This brief letter mentioned the Father and the Son in two places. What does this imply for Mohammed who changed the teachings about Jesus Christ?
Jude, probably about 67 AD.
Jud. 1:1 " From Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. To all who are chosen and loved by God the Father and are kept safe by Jesus Christ."
Jude is a short letter also, but the relation of the Father and Jesus Christ are basic to the letter.
Jud. 1:4 "Some godless people have sneaked in among us and are saying, "God treats us much better than we deserve, and so it is all right to be immoral." They even deny that we must obey Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord. But long ago the Scriptures warned that these godless people were doomed."
Obeying Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord is the way to escape from false prophets and godlessness in the world.
Jud. 1:18-21 "They told you that near the end of time, selfish and godless people would start making fun of God. And now these people are already making you turn against each other. They think only about this life, and they don't have God's Spirit. Dear friends, keep building on the foundation of your most holy faith, as the Holy Spirit helps you to pray. And keep in step with God's love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life."
The importance of Gods Spirit in the life of the believers stressed again. The Muslim does not have the Spirit of God in his life because he does not believe in the Holy Spirit nor the source of the Spirit which is the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jud. 1:24 "Offer praise to God our Savior because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power, and authority. Amen."
God is our Savior because Jesus Christ is God in the flesh who died for us, and is our Lord.
Revelation, the date is uncertain. Some propose a date as early as the 50s or late 60s. Tradition also dates it toward the end of the century.
Rev. 1:5-6 "May kindness and peace be yours from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Jesus was the first to conquer death, and he is the ruler of all earthly kings. Christ loves us, and by his blood he set us free from our sins. He lets us rule as kings and serve God his Father as priests. To him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen."
The usual themes appear in this book also. Jesus is the conqueror of death, we have been set free from sin by his death, we serve God his Father and we look forward to being in his presence forever.
Rev. 1:8 "The Lord God says, "I am Alpha and Omega, the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!"
The speaker is the one to come in the future, Jesus the Christ, who is also the Lord God.
Rev. 1:10 "On the Lord's day the Spirit took control of me, and behind me I heard a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet."
The Spirit is the revelator in many of the chapters of the book. The Spirit instructs, teaches, has power to move the listener to various positions.
Rev. 1:13-18 "There with the lamp stands was someone who seemed to be the Son of Man. He was wearing a robe that reached down to his feet, and a gold cloth was wrapped around his chest. His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire. His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword was coming from his mouth. His face was shining as bright as the sun at noon. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead person. But he put his right hand on me and said: Don't be afraid! I am the first, the last, and the living one. I died, but now I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys to death and the world of the dead."
The person speaking is Jesus, the one who died and is alive, and who has the keys to everlasting life.
Rev. 2:18-19 "This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Thyatira: I am the Son of God! My eyes are like flames of fire, and my feet are like bronze. Listen to what I say. I know everything about you, including your love, your faith, your service, and how you have endured. I know that you are doing more now than you have ever done before."
The son of God is Jesus. One cannot evade this claim on the part of Jesus. One can reject it or accept it, and it makes a difference concerning whether one has everlasting life or not.
Rev. 2:29 "If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."
Rev. 3:6 "If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."
The Spirit speaks throughout the book of Revelation. He is a person, not a force, or nebulous idea.
Rev. 21:6-7 "Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
Do you want to be the people of God in the presence of Jesus on the other side of the grave? It can only be done in Jesus, the Son of God, who gave his life for you.
A Muslim response is that the New Testament has been corrupted. However, the Quran gives credibility to the Injil, the Gospels. There are thousands of manuscripts in existence in various parts of the world. Major texts of the New Testament are dated earlier than the time of Mohammed. For dates on these check out this site: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7547/ntmss.html. The real problem for the Muslim reader is facing the truth of history as opposed to the cultural lie that Mohammed imposed on his followers.
The Muslim claim is that Allah preserved the Quran but could not preserve the previous scriptures. If God could not preserve the Old and New Testaments how could one have confidence that He preserved the Quran? History is on the side of the Bible, not the Quran.
Articles by Dallas M. Roark
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