Always Remember

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I will always remember the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11) that took place 12 years ago today. I will always remember the big screen TV I was watching in my office as the attacks were happening. I shared this information in 2011 in Never Forget.

A lot has happened in the United States in the past 12 years since 9/11. That attack united Americans – for a short time anyway. No doubt we will express feelings that we are again united on this anniversary of the attacks.

During our time of mourning and recovery, religions that do not go together came together. Churches filled with visitors. Some visitors became Christians while others warmed the pews for a while until their fear passed only to lead them back into the world.

Ironically, Islam is no less of a hot button today as it was on 9/11. Radical Islam thrives as long as there are living non-Muslims to kill. Admittedly, I have struggled to love Muslims – some Muslims anyway. Yet, I have argued for the religious freedom of Muslims who wanted to build a Mosque at Ground Zero despite believing it was the wrong thing to do. And even though I don’t see Islam collectively as a religion of peace, there are certainly peaceful Muslims.

Despite my own biases, I have continued learning to love Muslims and pray for their salvation. The ideology of Islam does not render a Muslim less deserving of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Helping my journey to better love Muslims was the interview I did with a missionary to Muslims – IMB Missionary Interview for LovingMuslims.com. The interview provided great insight along with some great resources to help Christians love Muslims.

For Christians, engaging Muslims with the gospel goes along with loving them. Sharing the gospel can be difficult enough, especially, when engaging with someone in Islam whose religion also claims Jesus as Messiah. One recent helpful resource for engaging Muslims is James White’s book What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an.

Sometimes we Christians not only struggle to love Muslims, but we also fear them. I want to encourage those folks not to fear Muslims. Not only can fear make loving and sharing the gospel difficult, but such fear is a misplaced. Remember Jesus’ words:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28, ESV)

Remember: Fear God, trust God. Also, remember that our true enemy is Satan who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pt. 5:8) We resist the enemy standing strong in our faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ. The power of the Christian life and witness rests in the gospel.

In light of 9/11 and of how many still think about Muslims, let’s turn to the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul  begins, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel…”

He reminds us what is of most importance.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (ESV)

Paul ends this section of the letter reminding us of the victory of the gospel present in the lives of Christians.

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)

I will always remember the gospel for there is no greater expression of love.

Here I blog…

Mark

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