Tag Archives: Jesus

“Jesus Is Lord”, A Controversial Phrase — Caleb Colley

Christians love to say and sing the words “Jesus is Lord,” because the phrase is a summary statement of biblical faith. It affirms not only that there is a God, but that the Person of Christ, has visited Earth as Jesus, the Son of Man, and has sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world (Jn. 3:16-17). “Jesus is Lord” is also a basic affirmation of Christ’s exclusive authority over all things on Earth, as He affirmed: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt. 28:18; cf. Ph. 2:9-11). To say that “Jesus is Lord” is to imply that Hindu and Buddhist gods have no authority, that Muhammed has no authority, and that no other supposed gods have authority.

“Jesus is Lord” is a short, simple, beautiful phrase. It contains the basic content of the confession that everyone makes in obeying the gospel (Ro. 1:9; cf. 1 Co. 12:3). And yet, this phrase is becoming more controversial.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the student union of the University of Sydney, in Australia, has threatened to revoke its recognition from one particular religious student group, because the religious group centers around Jesus. Since 1998, the religious group has required its members to sign that they believe “Jesus is Lord.” This policy has offended the student union, which now threatens to deprive the religious group of access to university facilities and membership fees. Ironically, the union is using anti-discrimination policies in order to discriminate against the more than 200 students who require belief in Jesus for membership in their religious group.

In the early Christian centuries, many lost their lives because they were committed to the reality that “Jesus is Lord.” Stephen, the first Christian martyr, accused the murderous Jews of killing “The Righteous One,” Jesus, and they stoned him for it (Ac. 7:52-60). Polycarp, a personal friend and pupil of the apostle John, was martyred after refusing to deny Christ. He famously said, “Eighty-six years have I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”1.

As culture becomes more secular, it will be more controversial to sweeten our lips with the name of Christ. Nevertheless, we will never stop confessing our Savior (Mt. 10:32-33).

http://www.calebcolley.com

1Philip Schaff, A History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 2:52

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Jesus and the Quran – Stewart Schnur

We need to understand what the perspective of our Savior is according to the writings of the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book. Our faith centers around Christ and their faith centers around Muhammad and the words of the Quran that others wrote down after Muhammad’s death. Only among Christians is Jesus seen as the Son of God.

We Christians know little about Muhammad and Muslims know little about the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is given a somewhat distorted and piecemeal presence in the Quran. Seeing there are some 31 verses out of 6666 verses (called ayets in the Quran) that speak of Jesus, we can become familiar with these verses and begin here to teach them the rest of the story about Jesus. In our New Testament we find the word Jesus on every page. It is interesting to bring to their attention that Muhammad is mentioned only five times in their Quran.

I list for you the 31 verses from the Quran that speak of Jesus: 2:87, 136, 253; 3:3, 45, 52, 55, 59, 84; 4:157, 163, 171; 5:46, 78, 110, 112, 114, 116; 6:85; 19:32-35; 33:7; 42:13; 43:57, 61, 63; 57:27; 61:6, 14

When you have an opportunity to study with a Muslim I suggest you become somewhat familiar with their limited understanding of Jesus.

Jesus is spoken of as “a word from Him/Allah and his name will be Christ/Messiah Jesus the son of Mary” (3:45). For us, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1), and that Word became flesh (Jn. 1:17).

Jesus and Muhammad speak of the same prophets of God. “We believe in God, and in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes and in (the Books) given to Moses Jesus, and the Prophets” (3:84).

Jesus did find unbelief on their part and said: “Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah? Said the Disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, And do thou bear witness that we are Muslims” (3:55). So Muslims believe Jesus and His disciples were Muslims.

Jesus is a model of virtue. 43:57 and 43:63 says, “When Jesus came With Clear Signs, he said: ‘Now have I come To you with Wisdom, And in order to make Clear to you some Of the (points) on which Ye dispute; Therefore fear Allah AND OBEY ME.’” A question here we can ask Muslims is, “Do you know Jesus’ commands? Our Jesus does say, ‘If you love Me keep My commandments’ (Jn. 14:15). What are Jesus’s commandments?”

The Quran says Christ Jesus was not killed or crucified in (4:157). This then denies a core belief of ours that Christ in shedding His blood at the cross made full payment for sins of the faithful to the one true God. They do believe that Jesus like Elijah and Enoch ascended into heaven (3:55; 4:158). They believe Allah purposefully deceived people into thinking Christ was killed and crucified. Our question must be, “Why would Allah want such a deception?” Some Muslims conjecture Judas or Simon who carried the cross for Jesus was placed on the cross.

Furthermore, we are not filled with doubts about Christ’s death and crucifixion as we have multiple prophecies and witnesses of this event. Muslims, like the Jews, do not believe God would allow the Messiah to die the death of a criminal. These have not read Isaiah 53. Since they do not believe Jesus died they do not believe He was resurrected from the dead, which to us is the final approval of Christ and His work from the Father.

The concept of Trinity is clearly spoken against in Surah 4:171 and 5:73. Here again we must make it clear that we believe in one God who for our needs chooses to reveal Himself to us as three persons and not three Gods. In Surah 5:116 Allah will ask Jesus if he has said for people to worship him and his mother (Mary). During Muhammad’s time Mariolatry was developing and Muhammad was influenced by this erroneous thinking.

Jesus did miracles as evidence of His bond with God and Muhammad did none. In Surah 5:110 Jesus is credited with the alleged miracles of speaking in infancy and giving life to a clay bird. The Quran and the Bible in this passage acknowledge Jesus did heal those born blind and the lepers and did resurrect the dead.

It is affirmed in the Bible and Quran that Jesus was born of a virgin and this miraculous birth was to be a sign (19:21). Jesus in the cradle tells his family Allah had made him a prophet (19:29-30).

These are some basic things we need to understand about a Muslim as we teach them more perfectly the way of the truth.

stewarteschnur@yahoo.com

Christians and Government – Brock Harwigsen

How should Christians interact with government?  The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Christians are to have no interaction at all.  They teach that Christians should not vote, should not participate in national holidays, such as 4th of July and Memorial Day, and that Christians should not even pledge allegiance to the flag.

Others not only condone voting, participating in holidays and pledging the flag, but they also take money out of their church treasuries to directly support political candidates running for office or to support political causes.  Some denominational preachers in the name of Jesus and justice lead protests and demonstrations for or against government and its policies.

Who is right?  Who is wrong?  What should a Christian do when it comes to his involvement with civil government?  As with any other question about what should a Christian do, the answer is to follow Jesus’ example.  After all, to be a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus.  Christians can’t go wrong if they will but follow Jesus’ example.

Two World Sectors

Before we look at Jesus to see how He interacted with civil government, we need to recognize two world sectors ordained by God.  The first and most important sector is the religious or spiritual sector.  This sector is the Kingdom of God, i.e., the church.  Jesus is the head of this sector.  Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

The second sector ordained by God is world governments.  The second time Jesus was brought before Pilate, before His crucifixion, Jesus affirmed that civil government gets its authority from God (John 19:10-11).  Paul by inspiration taught the same thin in Romans 13:1-7.  “Let every soul be subject unto the highest powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”  In verses 4 and 6 Paul wrote the civil authorities are actually ministers/servants of God.

Sadly, there have been a lot of civil governments down through the ages and holders of authority in these civil governments that did not know or did not care that they were God’s servants.  The same can be said for most if  not all governments today.  There have been and there are many rulers and governments that in no way, manner, shape or form resembled anything Christian or good.  Their actions don’t change the fact that they were and are still God’s servants and God will hold them accountable in the end for not behaving properly as His servants.

Everybody who holds an office in government or is thinking about running to hold an office in government, be it city, county, state or federal needs to understand that they first work for God adn then, here in American at least, they secondly work for the people they represent and last and least for the government.  Civil authorities need to heed the words that King Jehosaphat said to the judges of his day in 2 Chronicles 19:6-7.  “Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.  Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”

How Jesus Interacted

Now let’s look at how Jesus interacted with earthly government.  Most people are familiar with what Jesus said about paying taxes (Matt. 22:17-21).  Even though the Roman government used tax funds to build and maintain pagan temples and to support a conquering army that was suppressing the Jewish people, Jesus still said, “Pay your taxes.”  Jesus peacefully submitted to His arrest even though it was unjust and illegal.  Jesus was a radical, but He never led a riot, organized an underground movement nor criticized civil government.  Jesus never took part in the Jewish movement against Rome.  He never offered Himself as an advocate against society on behalf of many innocent victims of social injustice.  Jesus was not a revolutionary in any modern sense of the word.  He respected civil authority.  But, he caused the greatest revolution the world has ever seen.

Peter wrote, “Submit unto every ordinance” (1 Pet. 2:13f).  Paul wrote that civil authorities were “ordained of God” and were “ministers of God” (Rom. 13:1-7).  There is no hint in the New Testament or early church history of Christians ever organizing to change or nullify civil laws.

Some ask, “But what about unjust laws and government treatment?”  Jesus’ arrest and His trial were unjust and illegal, but He did not protest.  We consider slavery unjust and unChristian.  But, in the book of Philemon Paul tells Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave and new convert, to return to his slave master.  Christianity put an end to slavery not with civil disobedience, but by conversion.

What should a Christian’s relation to the government be like?  Like Christ we must obey and submit.  We, however, must disobey if we are commanded to disobey God.  “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19-20).

Can Christians speak out against corrupt government officials? Yes, but it must be done in a legal and orderly way.  Can Christians vote?  Yes.  In fact, voting is one way Christians are to be “the salt of the earth” and a “light of the world,” one way Christians can influence society in an orderly and civil manner, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:13-16.  Christians can be a positive influence for good by their votes.  Can Christians run for and hold political office?  Yes.  Who would want only the most despicable among us to seek and hold public office?

The Bible does not say that all governments will be Christians, that all laws will be just, that all laws will be fair, there will be no prejudicial laws.  But the Bible does say we are to follow Jesus’ example and Jesus never spoke out against or disobeyed civil laws.  Jesus did not rebel, protest, or fight against and outside of the law.  We need to remember Paul’s warning: “Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Rom. 13:2).  Christians need to be law abiding citizens who work inside the law to make their country a better place.                                                 stantonchurchofchrist@mindspring.com