Image 01

A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Sermon on Islam and America

March 20th, 2015 by Aubri

Sermon on Islam and America

Preached March 15, 2015 for Lent 4B

The Islamic government known as ISIS beheaded 21 Christians recently.  They have killed over 200 people, including Americans.  This shocks us because it seems like we are past violence and inflexible convictions.  We have been sold the lie that we can all just get along—that peace is our right.  But truth and error cannot coexist.

Our problem is that we do not see anything worth fighting or dying for.  We do not understand truth, the way these Muslims do.  They are willing to die for their false religion.  But we who have the true religion can barely be inconvenienced to come to church or give a few percent of our income.  Do we see any truth as worth dying for?  Our nation is completely secularized.  Uncompromising religion is hard for us to comprehend.

ISIS sees things as black and white.  They call us “infidels,” meaning unbelievers, and are willing to kill us for denying their god.  They know Allah, their god, is not Jesus Christ.  At joint prayer services they confess all the other prayers are not heard—there is only one God.  But LCMS participants recently have not addressed the issue of prayers to other gods in the same context—ignoring the issue of truth.  There is only one God and one truth, which must condemn what is not truth.

Christians in America have trouble understanding why some should not take the Lord’s Supper.  Scripture teaches a man must examine himself and not be in public sin, or believe a different doctrine, in order to commune.  Truth does not admit error—it corrects.  But we feel guilty telling people they are wrong or sinning.  Earthly peace, which is just spineless compromise, is what we crave.  We are forever finding special circumstances, hard cases, and broad exceptions.  Because God is not first in our hearts, we do not start with His Word and rest fully on it.  To be absolute is now to be unloving.  The very idea of a universal truth is now most offensive.  The question of whether it is actually correct or not is moot.

Serious Muslims laugh at Americans.  And partly they are right.  One Muslim made a correct observation in 1950:  “If the church is a place for worship in the entire Christian world, in America it is for everything but worship. You will find it difficult to differentiate between it and any other place.  They go to church for carousal and enjoyment, or, as they call it in their language ‘fun.’  Most who go there do so out of necessary social tradition, and it is a place for meeting and friendship, and to spend a nice time.”  They are not wondering why our churches are declining and dying.

Muslims are actually fighting for America and making progress.  They see homosexuality as a sign of sure victory—that we are decadent and in decline.  One scholar says the Muslim attitude is: “Be patient; we are going to win.”  Why?  Muslims have children and teach them something, but Americans do little of either.  So they see us as lying down for them, because we as a nation have nothing to fight for—except fun and sports.  We just come to church to feel good—not to receive instruction in God’s Word.  How many are involved with a church for selfish reasons, not to submit to Christ and keep His Word?  Indoctrination and discipline are now evil words.

Training children to not adapt to others’ opinions or be inflexible in morals is labeled “fundamentalist.”  To be absolute in one’s convictions used to be simply being “religious.”  Now it means picking a fight with the modern world and to be categorized with dangerous terrorists.  The truth is universal, and scriptural Christianity does not play nice with others religions and gods.  It is dangerous and alienating to claim allegiance to the true God.  Serious Muslims are right—unbelievers and believers cannot agree on everything.  There is an on-going battle for the hearts of people.  Even though they are fighting for a lie, at least they have real conviction.  This is what most disturbs Americans who trust in compromise.  Flashing the peace sign, speaking of all-accepting love, and singing Kumbaya are impotent in the face of evil.  Truth is not acceptance and compromise—the dominant American religion.

What is most sad is that Islam is a false religion, but its adherents actually take it seriously.  But Allah is a false god of hate and war.  It is good for unbelievers, us, to be killed, they think.  We have the forgiveness of sins in Christ, but so many misuse it to do whatever they want.  The Gospel is frequently an excuse to sin, not access to grace in Jesus’ blood.  So people have the name Christian and are baptized, but do not know what that means.

Yet we know God, the true and only Father.  Christ, His Son, came in the flesh to be a sacrifice for evil, unbelieving hearts.  That should lead us to be more serious about the truth—to even be willing to die for it.  Instead, we are afraid to talk about hell and death—we sugar coat it.

Muslims are serious about the law—Islam is a religion of pure law.  They want all people under the Islamic Shariah law—tight government control over every aspect of the body.  Punishments are harsh, such as stoning homosexuals and enslaving non-Muslims.  Just recently, it was revealed they buried kidnapped children alive.  Do we really think talk of peace and acceptance will win them over?

Where is our clear action and speech?  Do we have a truth that is as strong as this false religion?  Many Christians accept sin and say, “Christ’s death was not that important,” or “sin is nothing to get worked up over.”  But whoever denies Christ and His Word will perish forever, because no sacrifice remains for them.  Everyone is not going to heaven, even in America.

Islam punishes the crime of adultery with the death penalty, which is exactly what Martin Luther advocated.  Those who live together advertise their sin to the whole community, but churches are worried about inciting negativity.  Most Christians treat marriage as optional and something they shape, even though Jesus spoke in absolute terms:  “I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Mt. 5).  Living together is sin against God because it treats marriage as nothing.  God made marriage and He did say in the 6th commandment: “you shall not commit adultery.”  If we turn from evil, Jesus cleanses us from every sin, even adultery and murder.  We offer grace to the broken and humbled in the name of Christ.  But the unrepentant must be shown the door to destruction, since that is where they are heading.  Forgiveness is not acceptance—the highest American virtue.

Islam may become more prominent here than Christianity.  Very few believe the Bible like Muslims believe their Koran.  But they live by force and the sword.  We know that man cannot take away sin—Christ does.  “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3).

Because salvation is a gift, we cannot force it on unbelievers or sell them like a vacuum salesman.  The Gospel is the truth.  We should not apologize for it, dress it up as “good times,” or make it attractive with worldly veneers.  Jesus is the real God who died for the world’s sin.  This gift of eternal life is why people have died for the faith.  “The blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation” (Lk. 11:50-51).

If we are liked by the world, woe is us—we are not standing on the truth.  Sinners do not want to hear about sin and grace.  Homosexuals (and most Americans) do not want to hear they cannot use their bodies as they wish.  Muslims do not want to hear they serve a false god—a demon who enslaves them.  So expect persecution for saying that Jesus reveals the only true God.  We must be willing to lay down our head.  Do we have a reason for the hope that is within us?  Enough reason to die?  “The time is coming when brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt. 10:21-22). We do not win by killing people, but by rejoicing that Jesus’ death won us from death and sin.

We have true hope and will reach heaven by God’s grace.  We are not called to seek comfort on earth, but bear our cross in hope.  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Mt. 24:9).  But they cannot touch our hope—ISIS can only hurt the body.  “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” (Mt. 10:28).  But we are Christ’s sheep, who will be resurrected to life.  Victory is fully ours in Baptism, which joins us to Christ.

Only by trusting in Christ is the law fulfilled.  Every other person must struggle under the burden of the law.  Every other religion, even if called “Christian,” enslaves by commands we cannot do fully.  They can never know if they have done enough or been strict enough to satisfy God.  But we have the truth which frees and gives the Spirit.  We should not be ashamed or apologize for possessing the truth.  Jesus kept every command we have broken.  He let Himself be killed on the cross—which is no better than being beheaded.  In fact, crucifixion is slower and more painful.  This is what your God did for you to kill the true enemies—sin and Satan.

Every confirmand confesses God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They also promise to not deny the true God or the truth, even in the face of death.  “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?”  For only the highest, singular truth would someone dare to die—which we have recorded in Scripture.  So be proud and confess that Christ is Lord, who takes away the sins of the world.  Learn the truth, teach your family, and preserve it above all things—including comfort and even your life.

We live by the Lord’s strength who is God of gods and King of kings.  We can rest in His death, knowing He rose and gives us forgiveness.  We may be weak and afraid, but Christ is not.  His kingdom cannot be taken by force or achieved by laws.  It is found in suffering, death, and patient trust.  We have this victory in life and in death.  So do not be scared or fear the sword at your head.  Christ is your life, who rose over death.  This is our rallying cry in a fight we cannot lose.  Amen.


Comments are closed.