Islam began with the prophet Mohammad, who was concerned about the moral condition of people around him. In AD 62 he claimed that the Angel Gabriel appeared to him and revealed to him a new religion. Since then Islam has spread to include 1 billion people world-wide, with 6 million Muslims living here in the United States. As Christians and Muslims come into contact, differences between Islam and Christianity begin to surface.
One difference between Muslims and Christians is our understanding of who God is. Christians believe in one God Who is 3 separate and distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Islam, on the other hand, has the ‘Shahadah which says, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” Islam rejects the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Islam also rejects the belief that Jesus is of the same substance as the Father. Nor do they believe that the Father and the Son are coequal.
In our text, John chapter 8, the Jews try to discredit Jesus by saying, “Are we not right in saying that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Now, for one Jew to accuse another Jew of being a Samaritan had huge consequences. Such an allegation could so discredit a person in the eyes of the Jewish community, they could no longer live or work within the proper Jewish community.
But as Jesus points out, what the Jews failed to realize is that by dishonoring Him, they were, at the same time, dishonoring His Father, the “God of Abraham.” As Jesus said in verse 49, “I do not have a demon, I honor my Father, but you dishonor me.” Here Jesus clearly connects the Father with Himself.
Today, more and more people reject the true Jesus of the Bible. Islam believes that Jesus was just a man, no different from any other man. They deny that Jesus is the Son of God, they deny that Jesus is the Savior of the world, and they reject the Scriptures, claiming the Bible is nothing but Jewish lies and deception.
Other faith systems have their problems, was well. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Mormons believe that Jesus and the Devil are brothers, equally powerful and equally matched.
Then there’s the ever-popular evangelical church, promising that you can be healthy, wealthy, and free from life’s problems. According to them, God doesn’t want you to ever be sick, struggle financially, or have problems in your life. If you’re faithful enough, God will not just keep bad things from happening to you, but will fill your life with the prosperity you’ve always wanted, and more. The problem is, Jesus didn’t come into this world to shower us with worldly and material prosperity. Jesus came to bring us spiritual prosperity. He suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. Then He rose from the grave to give us everlasting life. To be welcomed into heaven and saved from an eternity in hell, that’s what really matters, not how big your bank account is.
Fortunately, we have God’s Word, the truth God has given us, the Scripture God intended for us to have. These Scriptures reveal the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father. Scripture reveals that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered and was crucified for our sins under Pontius Pilate. He rose from the grave on the 3rd day, ascended back in heaven, and will come to us once again with all of His glory. Jesus will then judge everyone for what they have done in their lifetime.
Jesus was sent to us by the Father, Who sent Him “So that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.” In our text Jesus said, “I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, they will never see death.” Here Jesus identifies those “who keep His Word” as having confidence and faith in their future with Jesus. “Keeping” His word involves faith, which has given you salvation and eternal life. Jesus sacrificial life and death paid for your sins and won complete forgiveness for you. As believers baptized in the name of the Triune God, you have been declared “forgiven and righteous” by God Himself.
In your day to day life, you will meet people who do not share our Trinitarian Christian faith. Lecturing them or arguing theology with them is, more often than not, frustrating. A wiser choice is simply be a friend to them. Get to know them. Over time, let them see your faith in action. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, share with them the amazing hope you have, and why you have it. Our hope is all because of Christ, crucified and risen. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.