What makes Christianity DifferentBro. David Chancellor
6/7/2009 6:00 PM
And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and bear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
This man was stirred up, negatively, about the gospel. He was stirred because the gospel was getting out. God still wants us to be persuading people about the gospel. We need to know what the gospel is and what it means to be a Christian and how to share that with others. There’s something different about true Christianity than everything else. We need to understand how religion affects people and what makes Christianity different. There’s something in Christianity that isn’t there in any other religion.
We’ve seen a similar eruption to this, except they’re saying, "Allah is greatest." You must deny all others to be a Muslim.
A Muslim is monotheistic. They say there’s one Allah, but why not Jehovah? Allah was the name of the moon god that the Sabeans worshipped where Mohammed was.
5 Pillars of the Muslim Faith
1 – Profession of Faith – No god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. – You must reject Jesus to be a Muslim. They don’t accept Jesus as who he was. They accept him as a prophet, but not as Christ. To be any religion, you have to have a profession of faith. To be a Christian, you have to believe God sent Jesus to be our Savior. It matters what and who you believe.
2 – Daily prayers – 5 prayers a day
3 – Participate in fasting
4 – Give to charity
5 – Make the pilgrimage to Mecca
You could do 5 similar things and be Catholic – Have a profession of faith, pray the rosary, Friday fast, tithe, show up to church
In either case, you just have to follow the rules. Any religion without the inward change is the same as all others. Today’s "Christianity" is failing because it leaves out the change of heart.
Muslim doctrine and Baptist doctrine that say, "You can’t help it; God will forgive" are pretty much the same. When you reduce it to just religion, it’s all the same. If you leave out the change within, they’re all just religion. They all have the concept of forgiveness.
True Christianity is more than just forgiveness. It’s a new heart and life and a change within. It’s us walking with God.
7 Articles of Muslim faith
1 – Angels
2 – God
3 – Revealed books
4 – Messenger
5 – Succession of prophets
6 – Fate of man predetermined
7 – Resurrection after death
We don’t believe that our fate is predetermined. God sent Christ so that our course will be changed. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one, and that by the blood he shed on the cross, we are changed. Something actively happens in us. He gives us life and grace and makes us pure in heart and enables us to do what God would have us do.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Jesus fulfilled everything in the law, prophets and psalms. We didn’t need Mohammed because Jesus had already fulfilled that. We’re not looking for another Jesus or another prophet like Moses. All other prophecies would serve to reveal what Jesus brought to us, not renounce him. He brought us the promise of the Father when he fulfilled everything. The promise is something within.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
"…in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." The Holy Spirit sets Christianity apart. Through the Spirit of God we’re given life within. It works through us and makes a change in us. What represents itself as Christianity in most Muslim countries is a poor representation. God intended something better than that. We have the Spirit of God working in us right here.
What happened on the day of Pentecost was of utmost importance to God’s church. For the church to prosper, we have to have the Holy Spirit at work in us. This is what makes real Christians, Christians.
Just making a trip to an altar won’t get it. You have to do business with God and be changed by him. When we talk to others, don’t leave them at the point of forgiveness. Help them understand that they need life within.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
This is an important criteria for true Christianity. Most religions look out for their own. They could preach unity, too. Christ’s message of love is different. A Christian will have love for everyone.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
What other religion teaches this? Love is what makes the difference. This is what makes Christianity unique. If we’re not living this, then we’re just another religion. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Pray for God’s mercies on people. This is what makes Christian religion different. Love in us by the Holy Spirit is what makes us different.
Get this settled before you confront other religions. God’s Holy Spirit does something in us. Don’t reduce Christianity to a religion among religions. You can identify true Christians because they have received the promise of the Father and can love like the 44th verse talks about.
God makes a change in us. Baptism is a testimony of the change that was made. If we leave the inward change out, we’ve missed it. We want the world to see the change God has made in us. We must have the love of God in our hearts. We must be able to show that love to everyone we meet.
Jesus is the Savior of mankind and the one that brought the promise of the Father to us. Let the world see him at work in your heart.