Summary: This is the second in a post 911 series designed to help listeners understand the beliefs and motives behind the Twin Towers attacts.
[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]
Good morning New Song!
Pick up a Bible (yours or ours) and turn to Matthew 7:15, p. 961
Towards the climax of Jesus’ most famous sermon, and arguably the most widely-acclaimed speech of all time, he says, Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. – Matthew 7:15-16
Since Sept. 11, large numbers of Americans, and large numbers of people around our world have wondered about the 19 plane hijackers and their backers who reeked havoc on the East Coast of our nation.
Who were they? What drove them? What motivated them?
Of course you’re all aware that within hours our nation’s leaders had identified these terrorists as Muslim Fundamentalists. Which raised a second string of questions:
What’s a Muslim?
What do they believe?
W hat made them think that such an act could be condoned by the God of heaven?
In the words of Jesus, they seemed to be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Which raises a third set of questions: (add these to the above set, with a space between)
Are they false prophets?
Or do they carry with them the commands and commission of God?
My goal this morning is to answer the second set of questions, and hopefully with the information we discover together you’ll be able to make your own call on this third set.
As with last week, I want to remind you of our spirit in this series. The purpose for spending time on this is not so we can worry or get angry or figure out how to get revenge, but to be informed so that we can be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. So that we can see things in their proper perspective and respond with the gentleness of Jesus.
With that in mind, what do Muslims believe?
If you were with us last week, you know that the word “Muslim” means “one who is submitted.”
And “Islam” means, “submitted,” or “surrendered.” (not “peace” as some are saying these days. The Arabic word for peace is “salaam.” It’s a related word because Muslims believe that those who are submitted to Allah experience peace.)
Last week we covered the background on Islam, it’s founder, Mohammed, and it’s history from Gen. 16 in the Bible up till today. Tapes of that talk are available in the lobby if you’d like to pick up a copy.
Since we covered Muslim history last week, we’ll stick with Muslim theology this week.
Like Christianity and its mother, Judaism, Islam is a monotheistic religion. Mohammed’s ancestors and contemporaries worshiped a multitude of gods, and Mohammed became convinced that there was only one God, and that his name was Allah. So he ruthlessly went about preaching belief in this one God and purging the Arabian Peninsula of polytheism.
Misunderstanding Christianity’s belief in one God expressing Himself in three persons, Mohammed sometimes taught that Christianity’s belief in the Trinity made us polytheists. But for the most part, he labeled Christians and Jews and Persian Zoroastrians as “people of the book,” because each of these three religions taught a belief in one God and practiced the teachings of one book of truthsource, in contrast to the animists who believed in many gods and had no written truthsource.
Mohammed also taught that, in contrast to many of the prophets who had come before him, like Jesus and others, the only miracle he would perform was what he called, “The miracle of Koran,” or, the miracle of giving divine revelation from God. So Mohammed would speak, and he would expect his followers to receive what he said as divine and infallible. These speeches and short utterances he would make were written down and compiled and became known as “The Koran,” or the Muslim Holy book.)
Within the Koran is description of all manner of how true believers are to conduct themselves.
In the Koran, Sura 47:12, Mohammed says, God will admit those who embrace the true Faith and do good works to gardens watered by running streams. – Sura 47:12
What are those good works, you may wonder? Well, boiling it down to its bare minimum, all Muslims have believed for the past 1300 years that to be a faithful Muslim and to earn your way to heaven, there are essentially 5 good works that you must perform.
These good works they call
2. The Five Pillars of Islam and the means by which all true believers earn their way to heaven.