Seven Lesson Sunday Morning Sermon Series on Islam
"The Religions" Sermon Series
The superiority of the religion of Christianity, with a view to Islam.
Christianity is the most historically and archaeologically supported religion in the world. It is also the largest religion in the world.
The central character of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ. That is because Judaism is Christianity concealed and Christianity is Judaism revealed.
The central theme of both the Old and New Testaments is the death of Christ, blood atonement and reconciling sinful man back to God, from the fall in the garden of Eden.
Christianity is based upon one core historic fact: The death and resurrection of Christ.
You may be surprised to learn, that very first reference to the death of Christ in the Bible, is in Gen 3:15 where God said to the devil, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." The devil bruised Jesus on the heel through crucifixion, indicating it was a minor injury from which Jesus quickly recovered three days later. Jesus, on the other hand, bruised the devil on the head through his death. Heb 2:14 says, "through death Jesus, rendered the devil powerless".
We see a number of complex themes like this, woven from start to finish in the Bible. This interweaving is an evidence of divine authorship. I invite each one here to read the Bible.
The three promises God made to Abraham:
"I will make you a great nation; To your descendants I will give this land; in your seed all families of the earth shall be blessed" Gen 12
Between Gen 12 and Ex 33 there are at least 19 different references to the three promises to Abraham.
These promises are the foundation theme, upon which the entire Bible rests.
I. Promise #1, the Great Nation promise, was fulfilled in Egypt in 1500 BC
Deut 10:22 "Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.
But there is a Spiritual fulfillment of the great nation promise in Christians and the church that many miss:
"For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise [of Abraham] may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you" (Rom 4:16-17)
"And if you belong to Christ [being Christians], then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise." (Gal 3:29)
"[Christians], like Isaac, are children of promise" (Gal 4:28)
Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But [a Christians] is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart"
Romans 9:6-8 "For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel, nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise [or Christians who] are regarded as descendants.
Philippians 3:2-3 "beware of the false circumcision; for [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,"
In Gen 15, immediately after Abraham heard God make the three promises, Gal 3:6 notes, "and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of [Christian] faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel [of Christ] beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations will be blessed in you." So then those who believe [in Christ], are blessed with Abraham, the believer." (Galatians 3:6-9)
II. Promise #2, the Land promise, was fulfilled in 1440 BC when Israel crossed the Jordan
Josh 21:43 says, "So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it."
"So Joshua took the whole land, ... and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war." (Joshua 11:23)
"Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance." (Joshua 24:28)
For those who deny Joshua controlled all the land, 1 Kings 4:21 says, "Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life."
It may come as a shock to many church goers, and perhaps delight the Muslim community, but Israel becoming a nation in 1947 is not the beginning of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic land promise. The Bible says that the Jews got all the promised land under Joshua, lost it forever in 70 AD for crucifying Jesus, when the Romans destroyed the temple as per Luke 21:20.
The dome of the rock, may in fact be God's way of making sure the Jewish temple is never built again.
That God is finished with physical Israel for crucifying Jesus is proven by
- The parable of the Big Dinner in Lk 14:16-24
- The parable of the Marriage Feast in Mt 22:1-14
- The parable of the Wicked Vine-growers in Mt 21:33-46
- The parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree in Lk 13:6-9
- When the Jews were trying to kill apostle Paul and had him arrested in acts 28:20, he replied, "I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." The only remaining hope of Israel therefore, is not gaining control of the land of Palestine, but Jesus Christ, just as Paul said!
- Judaism and Islam therefore, actually share the a common hope: acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Messiah.
Have you ever considered the Land promise being spiritually fulfilled in the paradise of heaven?
"Peter said to [Jesus], "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later." [notice that the spiritual land promise is contained within the words, "you will follow me later"] Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? ... [Jesus said] "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; ... "If I go and prepare a place for you, [fulfilling the land promise of Abraham] I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. "And you know the place where I am going." Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 13:35-14:6)
Again, it may come as a shock to many church goers, and perhaps delight the Muslims, but Israel's current land holdings in Palestine, have nothing to do with fulfilling Bible prophecy of the Abrahamic land promise.
Jesus was going into the presence of the Father and our hope is to follow him later, at the second coming into the presence of the Father.
The land inheritance, promised to Abraham, therefore, is not Palestine, but heaven itself, in the very presence of God.
Indeed, scripture says that just as the earth was created in Gen 1:1, the earth will be uncreated at the second coming. If that is the case, obviously physical land is not part of God's eternal plan. Our hope is to be in the same kind of non-physical place that existed before Gen 1:1 and after the second coming.
2 Peter 3:10 confirms this: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10)
Speaking of the great judgement after the second coming, Revelation 20:11-12 says, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds."
Did you notice that? At the second coming, heaven and earth will vanish, just like before Gen 1:1.
"Then [Jesus] the King [and judge] will say to those on His right, 'Come, you [Christians] who are blessed of My Father, inherit [there's the land promise] the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mt 25:34)
What may surprise many churchgoers, is that, the promised land Abraham longed to enter, was Heaven itself, just as Hebrews 11: says. "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. ... [Abraham was] seeking a country of [his] own. And indeed if [Abraham] had been [dreaming] of a [mere physical] country [like Mesopotamia] from which [he] left, [he] would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, [Abraham, while sojourning in the promised land, was dreaming of] a better country, that is, a heavenly one."
This critical verse tells us that while Abraham was physically walking through the promised land, he was actually dreaming of heaven as his inheritance. Wasn't Abraham an incredible person!
Now if you think the great nation promise and the land promise are exciting, wait till you hear about the seed promise!
III. Promise #3, the Seed promise, was fulfilled at the cross in 30 AD
Gal 3:8-9 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the good news [of Christ] beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." So then those who are of [Christian] faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Acts 3:25-26 "God made a covenant with your [Jewish] fathers, saying to Abraham, `And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For [the Jews] first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one from their wicked ways."
Acts 13:32-33,38 "we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus...that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."
The seed promise made to Abraham, where every man on earth will be blessed regardless of race, colour, sex or wealth is most eloquently and succinctly stated in Gal 3:26: "[All Christians] are ... sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise."
IV. Abraham's reverse reenactment ritual of the crucifixion of Christ.
In the Islamic pilgrimage, "The Throw" is a reenactment ritual based upon the mythical story of where Abraham is said to throw stones at the Devil when he was about to sacrifice Ishmael.
Of course the question is, "was it Ishmael as the Muslims say, or Isaac, as the Bible says?"
But what do Christians say? None of the above!
Through Isaac, Abraham was really sacrificed Christ!
This is exactly what Heb 11:17-19 says, "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, "In Isaac your descendants shall be called." He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type."
Did you catch the two key phrases? "only begotten son" and "as a type"?
Abraham was really offering Christ on that alter.
Isaac was Abraham's only begotten son, just as Christ was God's only begotten son.
Has it occurred to you yet, that Abraham actually performed a reenactment ritual of the death of Christ on that alter? Except he was looking forward to the cross. We call this type and antitype.
In Acts 20:7, Christians had the Lord's supper every Sunday, and performed a reenactment ritual that looks back to the death of Christ.
So in Isaac, Abraham was looking forward to the cross and in the Lord's Supper, Christians look back to the cross.
Any anyone dare stand up here and say the Bible is not inspired? It is an utterly amazing book! I would love you to read it!
V. The Jewish Passover lamb is really Christ!
In the Jewish Passover, God spared the first born of every Jew that applied the blood to their door. But they had to first select a young lamb without blemish, and they were not permitted to break any bones.
Every Passover, the Jews were really crucifying Christ when the killed that Passover lamb. Like that Passover lamb, Christ was young, without sin and although they broke the legs of the thieves crucified on either side, Jesus' legs they did not break! A perfect fulfillment!
Christ on the cross is a perfect match for the Jewish Passover lamb. 1 Cor 5:7 actually says, "Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed."
But what is even more fascinating, is that every year, when the Jewish High priest took the blood from the Passover lamb and sprinkled it on the ark of the covenant, the sins of the people were not actually forgiven, but merely pushed forward next year.
Its kind of like when the judge gives you an extra year before you must pay the fine.
This is just as Hebrews 10:3-4 says, "But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."
But the sinless blood of Christ does forgive sins just as Hebrews 10:10-12 says, "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every [Jewish] priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but Christ, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,"
So when Christ died on the cross his blood forgave the cumulative sins of the whole Jewish nation even back to Adam and forward to every sin any man will ever commit!
VI. Water Baptism
Water baptism by immersion is a reenactment of the Death of Christ: Rom 6:3-4 says "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
So in the physical action of water baptism, a sinner reenacts the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When the sinner goes down into the waters of baptism, he dies and is buried. At that point he is dead to self and sin, and he rises from the waters of baptism to new life in Christ and is born again. V7 says "for he who has died is freed from sin."
Gal 2:20 says ""I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me"
So water baptism is a reenactment ritual where the sinner crucifies himself and comes in contact with the saving blood of Christ that He shed in His death on the cross.
Jesus said in Mark 16:16, ""He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved
VII. The death of Christ is the central focus of the Christianity!
1 Cor 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 "For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness [or we might we say "and to Muslims foolishness], but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
VIII. So the fulfillment of the 3 promises to Abraham involve three things:
Great nation promise: becoming a descendant of Abraham by faith in Christ.
Seed promise: having your sins forgiven by the blood of the crucified son of God
Land promise: living forever in the promised land of heaven with God.
This is a Christians view of Christianity.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Written by Brother Andrew
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