Once again we introduce this article with this same section as it illustrates where the Christian faith stands. Those of us raised as Christians will have some idea of the core values to which we believe. The Godhead is paramount: One God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is the same critical introduction to each of our articles.
Mary was a virgin but gave birth to Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Jesus God the Son yet fully human lived without sin, was crucified and died on the Cross for our sin and was raised again the third day to life and this, the assurance of Salvation is for anyone who believes in Him.
The central focus of Christianity is love, repentance, forgiveness and compassion with a world view taught by Jesus and expounded in the New Testament that ultimately there will be a divine reckoning for those who reject this astonishing measure of Grace - the Cross.
Response by those who follow Jesus
How then, in the light of what we know about Islam and what we see happening in the world today, are we as Christians to respond as citizens of "free democracies" where a strict form of Islam under their Muslim leaders "does not reign" politically.
The Muslims we are likely to rub shoulders with in our neighbourhood or workplace are unlikely to be radical jihadists, but even if they were, they are still people made in the image of God, for whom God sent his son to die so they may live. It seems to be that the key to our response must be love. There is also room here for 'compassion' for their upbringing and circumstances.
Ishmael was promised great blessing (see Genesis Chapter 17, verse 20). God has a specific purpose for the descendants of Ishmael and he will fulfill his promises. In Acts Chapter 2 the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, and among those who were speaking in other tongues were Arabs!
Do you remember the story of Jonah (Jonah Chapters 1–4)? Jonah didn't believe that the people of Nineveh were worthy to be saved (because they had carried out atrocities similar to those of ISIS) – he wanted them wiped out. But God had other ideas: when Jonah finally got there, Nineveh was saved as a result of his preaching! Jonah had a big hissy-fit about this (Jonah Chapter 4) – let us not respond in the same way about Muslims.
An open book – a living letter
Our personal testimony must be evident in our lives. Don't bring them the message in "the" Book unless first they can read the message in the Book of your life. Your personal story is paramount (see 2 Corinthians Chapter 3, verses 2 and 3).
The unity of the body of Christ is imperative in presenting an effective witness. This is what Jesus prayed for the believers (John Chapter 17 verses 20 – 25). This must be a genuine unity birthed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ within us, both for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for the lost for whom Christ died.
It is only in a true unity, where we cease personal kingdom building, to actually building his kingdom, that we will be able to demonstrate in practical action the unity and love of the Body of Christ in a way that the world will see and believe that we are the Disciples of Christ.
We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood (1 Peter Chapter 2 verse 9). As priests we need to bring people to Christ in prayer before we bring Christ to them. Prayer is not a religious ritual but a power encounter with the living God. When people pray, things happen – prayer can change the destiny of people and nations.
Ishmael has a cry for a father's acceptance – it's a seeking spirit. Esau has a cry of hatred – a spirit of revenge. We need to approach these with intercession and discernment.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit
It's not a contest! It's not a debate! It's a journey where we walk with seekers of truth and help them discover the answers for themselves. Ask them questions: are you sure you will be saved? How will you get to heaven?
Don't neglect the spiritual gifts. Elijah was never going to win Israel back to God by powerful arguments. It took a demonstration of God's miraculous power (see 1 Kings Chapter 18, verses 17 – 39).
Many Muslims have a greater faith in the supernatural than educated sophisticated modern Christians in the West. Have we adopted a logical humanistic worldview that sees these Muslims as uneducated since sickness is simply a matter of germs and bacteria and not because of the evil eye? When we take such a stance we become irrelevant to a needy world where only the power of Jesus can satisfy the hungry soul.
We have all authority: in Matthew Chapter 28, verses 18–19, Jesus says that "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations". Also in 1 John Chapter 4 verse 4 we are told that "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world".
We do not need to fear the Muslim people – in fact perfect love casts out all fear (1 John Chapter 4 verse 18). We need to befriend them, pray for them and walk in the authority that we have in Christ, depending on the prompting of the Holy Spirit, in our interactions. This is Christianity 101.
We want revelation to touch their hearts, not just to win a theological argument so they can personally encounter Jesus. Sow seeds by faith, love and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, yet without compromising our own Salvation through Jesus and the Cross.
Perhaps a short video to conclude today - Let not our love grow cold
Today the sixth
NEXT - Dhimmitude, Sharia Law, Persecution – Wednesday 24 February
Aira Chilcott B.Sc (Hons), M. Contemp Sci, Cert IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Cert IV in Training and Evaluation, Grad Dip Ed., began her working life at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, investigating characteristics of cancer cells. Turning to teaching in the Christian school system provided opportunities to learn theology, more science, mission trips and explore the outdoors through bushwalking and other exploits. Now retired, Aira is a panelist for Young Writers and volunteers at a nature park. Aira is married to Bill and they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html