Hello, and welcome to this message from Calvary Albuquerque. We're excited to welcome our special guest speaker, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, author and pastor emeritus of the Moody church in Chicago, Illinois. We pray this message strengthens your relationship with the Lord. If it does, let us know. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.
During the Protestant Reformation Martin Luther emphasized the response pastors should have when threatened with the militaristic religion of Islam. In the message, interfaith dialogue: Islam and Martin Luther, Dr. Lutzer presents information that exposes Islam's intentions to use interfaith dialogue to change people's perception of their religion. Now please turn in your Bible to Acts chapter 20 as he begins.
My topic today is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And we're going to talk about Martin Luther and Islam. But first of all, I want to give you some background to all that. And to begin, I speak about a man by the name of John Hus John Hus was a preacher in Prague, and he preached the gospel there.
He had come to saving faith through the ministry of John Wycliffe, who is well known, of course. And today we even honor him through the Wycliffe Bible Translators. And so Hus was preaching there, and he preached against some of the abuses of the church. At his time, there were two popes ruling, each claiming to be the true heir of Peter. And so he preached against these abuses.
He preached against simony, the purchase of spiritual offices with money. He preached against indulgences. He told people that you don't have to obey a church that is corrupt, and that obeying the church is not the same as obeying Christ. And, by the way, Christ was the head of the church.
In the Czech language and the name Hus means goose. So as Hus was preaching, he would sometimes sign his letters, the goose. Now the pope heard about it and wanted to shut things down. So he had an interdict, which meant that from now on you would have the problem of sacraments. And there would be no sacraments in Prague. So that put pressure on Hus and he had to leave.
He went to a castle, wrote two books there. And he was, of course, the great hero to many people. But on the other hand, he was rejected, of course, by the church.
Now mind you, what happened is the emperor Sigismund came to power. And he wanted to resolve this scandal of two popes. As a matter of fact, when Sigismund came to power there were three popes. There had been a council of pizza-- actually Pisa, and they had deposed both pope's and they had then anointed a third, but the other two didn't resign. So here's a scandal that the man Sigismund wants to take care of. So he a conference in Constance Germany.
And he invites all of the people there and they did resolve the issue of the three popes. But there was another issue that the Council of Constance wanted to take care of, and that is heresy. So Hus was invited to the council. He was given safe conduct.
What they said is that when you come to this council we'll allow you to come here and go back home again, but we want you here so that you can defend yourself. And Hus knew that possibly he might die, but he thought that he would accept the invitation to go.
His good friend, King Wenceslaus of Prague, was a half brother to Sigismund. And he said, oh, yeah, my half brother will keep his word. He'll keep his word and you'll be able to get back to Prague.
Hus goes there. They put him in a small castle. They feed him only bread and water. And during that period of time Hus is struggling much, but he will not deny the faith and he will not recant.
He prays and he says, oh, God-- He says, draw me near, as weak as I am, after thyself for that It may be willing if the flesh is weak, let thy grace precede us. Come. For without the we cannot go, he prays. The day is coming for him when he is condemned as a heretic. He's not giving an opportunity to defend himself. They put a crown on his head with three demons. And they say, we are entrusting your soul into the hands of the devil. Hus said, I am entrusting my soul into the hands of God. And then he is taken and he is burned.
Sigismund decided that he didn't have to keep his word to a heretic. Hus was given no apology for the broken promise of safe conduct. And he was taken there and he was burned. But before he was burned at the stake he said these words-- you remember I told you that the name Hus was the same as the word goose? He said, you can cook this goose, but in 100 years a swan will arise and him you will not silence.
102 years later, Martin Luther nails his 95 thesis to the castle church door in Wittenberg, beginning what we honor as the Protestant Reformation. And Luther expressly said he believed that he was the fulfillment of Hus's prophecy. And you can go to Europe today and you can see pictures of Luther, and oftentimes a swan is also in the picture, and became a symbol of the Reformation.
Well, as you know, Luther, of course, came to saving faith in Jesus Christ as a result of studying the book of Romans. He had been struggling with how to please God. Loved God? Luther said. I hated him.
He hated God because God's demands were so high. There were so many rules in the church and it had an uncertain ending. At the end of the day no matter how much you did, you never knew whether or not it was enough.
Luther sometimes slept on a floor without blankets, cold floor to mortify the flesh. How do you please God? Now the church had said that salvation is by grace, but you have to make yourself worthy of that grace. And you have to prove that you are worthy of it.
Luther sometimes confessed his sins up to six hours at a time. Did that give him any assurance of salvation? Absolutely not. Because tomorrow was another day. It was something like mopping up the floor with a faucet running. Today, even if you remember all of your sins, confess them all, tomorrow is a new day with new sins. The process would not end.
But when he came to Wittenberg, and he began to study the scripture in the book of Romans chapter 1 verse 16, the Bible says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. And in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, the just shall live by faith.
Luther said, day and night I pondered until I saw the connection between faith and the righteousness of God. He says the righteousness of God is an attribute of God, but it is also a gift of God. And God credits you with Christ's righteousness if you live by faith and receive it by faith.
Luther said, when I saw this it was as if I went through the gates of paradise. Because now it didn't matter how high God's standard was, as long as Jesus met it for me. Centuries earlier the great theologian and philosopher Augustine had said these words, oh, God, demand whatever you will, but you supply what you demand. It takes your breath away.
It doesn't matter how high your standard is as long as Jesus meets it for me. Luther also discovered that it's the same righteousness that is given to all believers and there you have the priesthood of the believer. You don't have to go to a priest anymore to have him intercede for you. You're a believer. You are a priest before God. You intercede. You come to Christ on the basis of what Jesus did like anyone else.
Luther says that the woman who scrubs floors, totally unknown, nobody is quoting her, or the man who's plowing a field, he is doing it to the glory of God because he's a priest before God. Some of you are going to like this. Luther said that when a father changes the diapers of a baby God is pleased not because the kid is clean, though the mother undoubtedly is thankful for that, God is pleased because he does it in faith. And that is like a sacrifice pleasing to the Lord, because he's a priest before God. Changed all of society. Now everyone had dignity. Everybody could participate and worship also.
So Luther is finally a free man. And in Rome there is a man by the name of Pope Leo who wants to finish St. Peter's Basilica and he's selling indulgences. Indulgences had previously been sold, but now they have a new twist. You can buy an indulgence not only for yourself, but for your dead relatives.
So men like Tetzel went throughout Germany, went into the town square, and said, here ye, here ye, your mother is in the flames of purgatory. And she's saying, but for a few pents you can buy me out. And then he had a little jingle which translated from the German essentially is this, as soon as a coin hits the chest anothers soul flies to its heavenly rest.
People came and they showed Luther, the indulgences. And Luther was not amused. In fact, there were some people who bought indulgences for sins they had not yet committed but planned to commit. And Luther became angry and he nailed his 95 thesis to the council church door on October 31, 1517, 500 years ago. And the Reformation began.
It was like pulling a stone out of a mountain. He thought that he was doing something rather small, but these thesis were written in Latin, intending to be debated among the intelligentsia. Translated into German, Gutenberg had invented the printing press in the previous generation. Now all the German's are reading it. And they're all saying, [GERMAN SPEECH]. It's about time that this happened.
It is said that 90% of the Germans were on Luther's side, the other 10% were shouting death to the pope. Well, if you do the math, you understand that the pope was in trouble. I like to point out that I read the other day that seven out of six people have trouble with math. But if you think about it, you realize the pope had his troubles.
Well, there's a new emperor in Germany, actually of the Holy Roman Empire. His name is Charles. Charles wants to kill Luther. Charles is from Spain, ardent Catholic. Let's get rid of this heretic. But he can't do it because he'd have all of Germany mad at him.
And what he needed, and this will become relevant in a moment, he needed the support of the German armies in his war against the Turks. Because this was during the day of the Ottoman Empire. And the Turks were circling the city of Vienna, hoping to capture the Habsburg Empire.
So Luther knew that he'd have to-- excuse me, Charles knew that he'd have to have a hearing for Luther and then kill him. Because at least he wanted to say, well, I gave him a chance to recant. So ultimately they decide that the hearing is going to take place in Worms.
Now in German the W is actually pronounced as a V, so it's Worms. But the average American doesn't know that. So they talk about the diet of worms. It's a diet that-- can I just say that in Chicago we used to lose a lot of weight with The Cub Diet. We would eat only when the Cubs won. But last year many people gained weight if the news came down here.
So they decided they're going to be at Worms, and Luther is very sarcastic. He says this shall be my recantation at Worms. Previously I said the pope was a vicar of Christ. Now I recant and I say that the pope is an enemy of Christ and the apostle of the devil. That shall be my recantation.
Well, he goes to Worms and he stands before the emperor and all the German princes. They say, are these your books? Yes. Will you recant? He wants to debate them, but they don't give him an opportunity to do that. He says, give me until tomorrow to think about it.
That night, Luther prayed a prayer, which I've read many times, but it deserves another reading. I'll read only part of it. What do you pray when you're confident you're going to die the next day? Now, Luther didn't die the next day, but he thought he would be put to death. And how do you pray when you believe that tomorrow you're going to be a martyr?
Oh, almighty and everlasting God, hos terrible in this world? Behold, it opens its mouth to swallow me up. I have so little trust in thee. How weak is the flesh? And Satan, how strong? If it is only in the strength of this world that I must put my trust, it's all over. My last hour has come. My condemnation has been pronounced. Oh, God. God, help me against all the wisdom of this world.
And he goes on to say, God, are you dead? No, you can't die. But you're hiding yourself. Are you going to be there for me when I'm stretched on the pavement and my body reduced to ashes?
The next day Luther is brought before the emperor, all the German princes to even a larger audience. And he is asked whether or not he will recant. And he says these words, which you ought to memorize and teach your grandchildren, because, after all, we do want to have heroes in our lives, don't we? All of church history changed at this great dividing point.
Luther, standing there, says these words, unless I am convinced by scripture or plain reason, for I do not accept the decisions of popes and counsels but they contradict one another, my conscience is held captive by the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.
Well, of course, there was a hush in the room. Luther was allowed to go back to his lodging. The next day the emperor wrote what was known as the Edict of Worms. The Edict of Worms says that Luther should be given safe conduct to back to Wittenberg. He wanted to keep his word, unlike the other emperor, Sigismund. But when he gets back to Wittenberg any one can kill him without reprisal.
The next day, day after, Luther is on his way back with a horse and a wagon. And five men jump out of the ditch and they capture him and they take him to the Wartburg castle and hide him so that he would not be killed. They were actually the security detail of this prince, the elector, who wanted to save Luther's life.
There, in a small room, Luther fights with the devil and all. But it is there that Luther does something else. It is said he through an inkwell at the devil. And it used to be that tour guides put a bit of soot on the wall. Because you pay so much to go to Germany. You've got-- you've got stairs you have to climb. You want to see where the inkwell landed.
I'm not sure that he did that. He said in his table talks, I fought the devil with ink. What he meant was this, in that room, in just 11 weeks, he translated the New Testament-- The Old Testament took the rest of his life-- but he translated the New Testament from the original Greek into a German that the Germans could actually read, the vernacular. If you want to fight the devil, don't throw any ink well at him, give people the living word of God. That's the way in which we fight the devil.
So with that the Reformation, of course, continues. Now, the reformers faced many issues. One of the issues was freedom of religion. Listen, when Luther stood there at the diet and said, my conscience is held captive by the word of God, the deal that a monk could say that my conscience is above the authority of the pope was unthinkable. That's what you died for, is the heresy. And Luther planted a seed, which eventually resulted in freedom of religion, which all of us take for granted today.
There were other battles they faced, the battle of authority. You know, on what basis do you believe what you're going to believe? And church-state issues resolved in a very interesting way. But there was another problem that the reformers, Luther especially, and the churches of Germany, had to face, and that was Islam.
Because, you see, Luther was receiving reports almost every day of the great advance of the Ottoman armies. Capturing-- Hungary had fallen. Most of the other countries in Europe, you know, had fallen to Islamic influence and the Islamic advance of their armies. He received reports of heads being cut off and the delight that the Turkish soldiers had-- soldiers had in violence.
And so what he did is he began to study the Quran. Because there were those who said, you know what we need to do? Somebody like Nicolas Von Kreutz was a German theologian who said, we need to gather-- to get together with the Muslims. They have some truth. We have some truth. Let's put it together and see if we can't work out something that is amicable, something that works for both of us. Luther would hear none of it.
Now before I get to what Luther taught I want to take a moment out and talk about the United States of America. There is today even in angelical churches what is sometimes called interfaith dialogue. For interfaith dialogue, what that means is, a Muslim may come into the church or some other hall and you have him speak and you have the Christians speak, but this is not a debate. Everybody is allowed to simply say whatever they like without any cross-examination. And what they believe is what they believe. You have to take it at face value.
I read this book entitled, Interfaith Dialogue: A GUIDE for Muslims. Written by Muslims, for Muslims. And it teaches Muslims how to do interfaith dialogue in such a way that Islam is-- these are my words-- sanitized for Western audiences.
And one writer, Sayyid Qutb, sorry if I mispronounce his name, said that the goal of interfaith dialogue, the chasm, he says, between Islam and the society of unbelievers is great. And a bridge is to be built, so that the two sides may not mix. That's not the reason. But the bridge is there only so that the people of the unbelievers may come over to Islam.
So what I did in reading this book is take down some quotes as to how Muslims are to conduct themselves. And there is much in the book that we as Christians would agree with. You know, be polite, dress a certain way, smile at-- when you're supposed to. All that is spelled out in here.
But how would you like to be a Christian in the Sudan, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or some of these Muslim countries, and you're hearing someone give interfaith dialogue and say things like this? It says Islam should be presented as protecting and enhancing civil rights. That's page 42. Muslim participants can emphasize that Islam stands for protecting the rights of both men and women. That's also page 42.
Many people in the West believe that Islam is a religion of revenge because they don't-- do not know that it's core teaching are forgiveness and mercy. Muslims should avoid saying that Jews and Christians and others go to hell. And then it gives an example of how that can be avoided.
Let me give you one more. Muhammad's goal was an interfaith federation where Jews, Christians, Muslims, and pagans could live together in peace. He used the goal of forgiveness and mercy to reconcile differences between individuals. And on and on it goes. Really?
Now, here's the thing, let's go to Martin Luther. What did he think of the idea of interfaith dialogue? First of all, Luther became very interested in the Quran. And he became interested, not just simply as a theoretical matter, but he became interested because he was a pastor and wondered how should we respond.
He insisted that the Quran be published in German and read widely. Luther said one of the ways that you can keep people from ever going over to the Islamic religion is just read the Quran. And we wrote in the preface of one of the German translations, we may be as certain as the sun shines that Islam cannot be worshipping the God of scripture. We must renounce Islam as firmly as we renounce paganism.
You have heard, for example, that Islam says-- there are those who say, oh, the Quran can't be translated. It has to stay in Arabic. Luther believed that the reason they were saying that is they didn't want people to read the Quran. And you see, this is why interfaith dialogue is so deceptive.
When a Muslim comes into the church and speaks about Islam, he can be assured of two things. First of all, he's speaking to people 95% of whom probably have never seen the Quran, much less read one. Secondly, a congregation that is waiting and longing to hear the words there is no compulsion in religion. And they long to hear that Islam is tolerant. By the way, if there is no compulsion in religion, could I ask you something? Why do the laws of Saudi Arabia prescribe expressly the death penalty if you convert from Islam to another religion?
Well, Luther studies the Koran and he comes to the conclusion that the Quran-- that is actually satanic. And let me give you, very quickly, three reasons why he believed that. First of all, because He says it attacks heavenly rule. It attacks Christ.
Luther knew that the Quran praised Christ very much, but reduced him to an ordinary prophet and denied that Jesus is the Son of God and the true God and that he died as a savior of the world for our sins. Moreover, Islam top that Jesus commission was temporary and was replaced by Muhammad and his higher commission. Obviously Muhammad receives a lot more praise and adoration than Jesus among Muslims. So Jesus is honored, but not like Muhammad is.
Furthermore, did you know that the Quran teaches in chapter four-- [INAUDIBLE] of four verse 157, that Jesus never died on the cross. It says that they crucified Him not. They thought that they were crucifying him, but they crucified Him not. Muslim scholars disagree as to who actually was crucified, but in Islam, Jesus does not die and is raised, but is taken to heaven. And the very heart of the gospel is denied.
So Luther goes on to point out that, certainly, when you think of the fact of Islam, he says, that the Turk denies the deity of Christ. His complete saving ministry. Do we need any further evidence, Luther says, in order to reveal his whole religion as a deception of the devil? From this each one can see that Muhammad, he says, is a destroyer of our Lord and the kingdom, because he attacks Christ, denies the creeds of the sovereignty of Jesus, the deity of Jesus. That's reason number one.
Reason number two is this, there's not only an attack against heaven, but there's an attack against earthly rule. Luther studies the Quran carefully. And he determined that according to the Quran to use the sword was considered the noblest work.
From the Quran he understood Muslims learned that they would render God a great service through robbery and murder. He understood their conceit and desire to rule that they passed off as God's will. These are harsh words from Luther, but Luther often had harsh words. In heart-- in truth, he says, the Muslim is nothing other than a street thief and a true murderer.
When Rebecca and I were in Istanbul, which was, of course, the capital from which the Ottoman Empire ruled during the days, for example, of Suleiman the Magnificent, and elsewhere, when you go through this museum, the one display that people spend the most time at and is in some sense most important, are the swords of Muhammad. Isn't it interesting that when you think of Jesus, you think of the cross? And when you think of Muhammad the symbol is the sword?
So Luther goes on to say that as the lie destroys the spiritual possession of faith and truth, murder destroys all earthly order put in place by God. Because it is not possible to have a praiseworthy earthly rule of order where murder and robbery are in practice, where violence is condoned, as indicated in the Quran. So that's the second reason.
The third reason is because of what it does for marriage. For Luther, the third evidence for the anti-Christian character of Islam is easy divorce and disparagement of women in their teachings. Luther points out that the fact that the Quran does not respect matrimony and that a man is allowed to marry several women, and also easily get rid of them. With this he finds a blatant contradiction to the word of God. To him, this breakdown of marriage is not only a regrettable violation of human custom, but sin in its coarsest form. It violates God's holy law, et. cetera.
You know that in the Quran, and now I'm thinking of [INAUDIBLE] four verse 34, it says expressly that a man can beat his wife. Now, in my Quran there's a little footnote that says he can beat her lightly. And I have an Arabic friend, who reads Arabic as his original language, and he says the word is actually flog. It's the same word that you would use if you were to flog a camel. You can beat your wife.
So Luther is reading the Quran here and comes across these things. And says to himself, Islam cannot possibly be compatible with Christianity. The true Islam is these things. You know, war against heaven, Jesus, a destruction of the earthly order because of violence, and third, the disparagement of marriage.
Now, for Luther, of course, the most disruptive thing about Islam is its denial of Jesus Christ. What does he believe to be the most powerful, effective method to confront Islam prayer? Now, let me explain. Luther believed that Islam was the rod of God against the German church, that the German church had lost the gospel and that repentance was absolutely necessary. And the greatest strength against Islam, so far as Luther is concerned, is prayer and a belief in the sovereignty of Jesus ] and God's holy word.
I want to just say this, Luther at one point says, what do we do when we look around and we don't think God is on our side? Some of you have had an experience like that. You know, here Luther is hearing all of these reports about the Muslim victories and where is God in all this. Luther's says at a moment like this what the Christian does is believe God's bare word. That in the end, Jesus Christ triumphs, God is sovereign, and following Christ has a certain destination. So that was Luther's response.
So there were those, you know, who said, wait a moment. There are Muslims who do miracles. There were a very devout Muslims, and they talk about miracles. Luther said, the fact that they do miracles does not at all convince him. He says, that occasionally they bring out great signs and wonders. But Luther calls this devotedness worthless and useless, because the Turks don't accept Christ.
The Muslim seems devout and performs miracles is not surprising, because Luther said, and I'm quoting, because the devil can also be serious, look sour, fast much, and perform false miracles. Luther says to uncover such faith-- fake miracles is easy because they do not happen in the name of Christ, but against the name of Christ and in the name of Muhammed. So he says, show me the miracles, but it won't convince me that it's the right religion.
There were others who said, oh, you know what? Look at Islam's great victories. And look at their gobbling up one country after another. Luther says, that does not indeed change any of his beliefs regarding the sovereignty of Christ.
In 2009, Rebecca and I took a tour to Turkey, and we visited the seven churches of Asia Minor. And we discovered that there are no churches there. Jesus wrote a letter to these churches, but there are only mosques. And a very devout Muslim guide said to me in effect, though he said it much more diplomatically than I'm going to tell you, isn't Christianities-- excuse me-- isn't Islam's ability to crush the church and replace it proof of its superiority as a religion? So if you want to know whether Islam is right, go to Egypt with its 3,000 churches that are mosques today. Syria, and Iraq, and Iran, all of those countries were at least nominally Christian, and they're all Muslim today. Proof of superiority.
This troubled me very much, but I asked God for wisdom as to what these non-existent churches have to say to the American church. Because it looked as if Jesus was weak. And then as I studied the Bible I noticed in the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation, this should give us chills, it says regarding anti-Christ, he was given authority over the Saints to kill them. And how did he kill them? With a sword.
So he has authority over all the earth. And it says that all who dwell upon the face of the earth shall worship him, except those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life from before the foundation of the world. He overcomes the Saints in chapter 13. But come with me to chapter 15.
I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number of his name. And they stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of the Lord, etc. Amazing the difference that two chapters make.
If you say to yourself that the ability to crush others and force worship on other-- of others-- and force worship, if you say that's proof of your superiority as a religion, vote for anti-Christ. But a few chapters later, anti-Christ is in the lake of fire and the Saints of God are before the throne.
So let's remember--
--that we must indeed put our faith in Christ. And Islamic victories in no way tell us that it is the true religion. Now what I'd like to do is to give you a very quick contrast between Islam and Christianity.
We've already emphasized salvation. In Islam, it's a matter of works. How many works can you do? Do you have more good works than bad works? In Chicago, a cab driver said to me-- he said, I am going to go to Hell, because he was doing a bunch of sins, but he says, eventually I'll pay for my sin and be allowed into paradise. Well, how long are you going to be there in Hell? He doesn't know.
How different it is for Christianity when the Bible says so clearly that Jesus Christ died for us and fully paid the price for all who believe. And that assurance is not based on our performance, it is based upon the work of Jesus Christ.
Now in Islam what you will find is Jesus Christ and his death is disparaged. I told you that it doesn't mention in the Quran. It says that he didn't die. Muslims tell us, well, we honor Christ, and God took him directly to heaven. Because to see Christ on the cross is to see weakness.
In the Muslim mind you can't have the Son of God on the cross. If he's the Son of God he conquers. Now Bill Kureishi, who died recently, wrote an excellent book that I recommend to you. And that excellent book is entitled, Seeking a Law and Finding Jesus. Said that as a Muslim, he saw the weakness of Christ. But once he accepted Christ, he saw the beauty of the mercy of Christ. And that God isn't just a despot, but God has come to us in Christ.
Let me say a word about the Trinity, where Muslims oftentimes stumble. They of course believe that we believe in three Gods. We don't. We believe that God has three centers of consciousness. That's the Trinity. But we also believe that because of the Trinity God can be just and the justifier of those who believe on Jesus.
Because you see in Islam, Allah might choose to forgive you, nobody knows whether or not he will, but somebody has to pay for his sin. And in Islam, it is believed that you pay for your sin. In the gospel, God, as I mentioned, demands perfection and a payment for sin, but God supplies what he demands.
Some of you young people, you are attending university or college, and you hear things like this, Christianity is just like any other religion. All other religions they also demand a sacrifice of blood, and so forth. Listen, that may be true, but in Christianity what makes it so difference is that God becomes the sacrifice. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.
I love to tell the story, and there are various versions of it, of a man who apparently was speeding and unable to pay his ticket. So he's standing before the judge. And let's just suppose the judge says give me $100, but the man doesn't have $100.
So the judge compassionately goes down, takes off his robe, stands with the defendant, takes his wallet out, and gives $100 and puts it on the ledge. And then goes back, put on his-- puts on his robe, and he says to the man, you owe $100, but I notice that somebody has paid for that $100. Thank you very much. You go free. In Christianity, God becomes the sacrifice. He is a redeeming God.
Now, I want to challenge you. You must understand that most Muslims have never read the Quran. And you must also understand that the Muslims that live here among us often times imbibe many Western values. And God has given us the privilege to befriend them.
When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, the Good Samaritan didn't say, now, before I help you, what religion are you? And are you here legally or illegally? Regardless of what our view of immigration is, you see someone to help and that's your opportunity.
I know a situation where people from a number of churches have gotten together and they're ministering to Syrian refugees. They are listening to their stories. They are building friendships. They are praying in their homes. It's a remarkable story of how open people are-- Muslims are to the gospel.
In fact, it's been said that in places like Iraq there are many people who are coming to saving faith in Christ, but they have to keep that silent, of course, or else they would be put to death. So many Muslims are weary of the fear of Islam, the fear of apostasy. And so you and I have the privilege of befriending them. Listen to them. Don't try to correct what they say about Islam.
When I was talking about interfaith dialogue I was talking about a situation in which officially you have someone who represents Islam, someone who represents Christianity, rather than in personal conduct and personal relationship, where you build those relationships. And you might find out that among those dear people are many hungry souls who long for a savior who will actually take away their sins.
You know the Bible says that there's no doubt how it's going to end. Says, regarding Jesus, that God has exalted him and given him a name that is above every name, that is the name of Jesus every knee should bow. Every tongue is going to confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Visualize it with me for just a moment. And visualize that there is Buddha, there is Confucius, Baha'u'llah is there, Mohamed is there, Krishna is there. All the great religions of the world represented by their people. All the different people of the world all doing one thing, confessing that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. You and I know how it all ends.
Now I have to ask you a question. Have you savingly believed on Christ? Have you trusted him as your Savior? Is your confidence there? Luther had no assurance when he was confessing his sins, because tomorrow was another day.
Millions will confess their sins in church today, and leave without any assurance that they have been permanently accepted by God. It is when we accept the free gift of eternal life that is given to those who come with a heart acknowledging sin and helplessness that we are saved.
People say, what's my contribution to salvation? I'll tell you exactly what it is. Your contribution is your sin. That's what you bring. Jesus does everything else.
Luther said it in a word that could not be clearer, oh, God, I am your sin. Jesus, thou art my righteousness. That is the gospel that I urge you to believe.
Our Father, we want to thank you today for the beauty of the gospel. We pray that churches may be strong in love, in strength, in doctrine, in prayer. Make us a repentant people. Make us glad to be able to suffer, if that's what it comes. Because the body they may kill, but God's truth abideth still. Your kingdom is forever. And we love you and we thank you. In Jesus' blessed name, amen.
As believers we should encourage friendships with our Muslim neighbors. How will you put this truth into practice? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.